News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, November 11, 2021
Blue Hill town office staff asks for patience
Software update caused unforeseen challenges

by Jeffrey B. Roth

Blue Hill officials hope that unanticipated issues related to updating the municipal software program used to conduct town business will be resolved by November 12.

“We continue to have software challenges,” Shawna Ambrose, town administrator, told the select board at its November 8 meeting. “We had an upgrade a couple of weeks ago and it seemed to go for a little while, meaning a few days, and then it was back to square one.”

Ambrose said the cause of the problems has not yet been identified, but that town staff, including its IT team, is working with Harris Local Government, the company that created the TRIO software, to identify and resolve the problem. She noted that the town recently moved to a new computer platform but still uses the same TRIO software.

“Everything we do here at the town hall requires TRIO,” Ambrose said. “It’s how we register vehicles, collect real estate and personal property taxes, as well as other revenues that the town relies on. TRIO puts out a series of updates similar to an IOS platform that fixes bugs and other issues. These can take place on a weekly basis or biweekly basis.”

Ambrose said that a successful update was completed the night of the meeting. The goal is to provide more functionality in the system. She added that if those problems cannot be resolved, the only remaining option is for the town to move the services to a Cloud-based system.

“We’ve had some really tough customers,” Ambrose said. “I would just ask everybody to be patient, everybody’s in a hurry. Everybody’s angry at the world these days. The staff really is trying hard to serve everybody in a timely manner, and with the computer [problems], it’s not so easy.”

Special town meeting

In other business, the select board voted to hold a special town meeting Monday, December 6, at 6 p.m. to vote on a proposal to approve a $27,750 contract with Hancock County Planning Commission to update the town’s comprehensive plan. If approved, the process is expected to take between 18 and 24 months to complete, Ambrose said.

“The board approved [a motion] to move forward with a special town meeting in order to approve this before our regular town meeting in April,” Ambrose said. “It was encouraged by HCPC that we start on the comp plan as close to January 1 as possible due to DOT [Department of Transportation] budgeting and funding requests related to comprehensive plan components.”