Software will help Lantzville manage infrastructure assets

NANAIMO – Council debates the merits around an asset management software program.

New software could be in place to help the District of Lantzville manage its assets.

Lantzville council approved staff recommendations for the purchase of asset management software totaling more than $20,000 during a committee of the whole meeting Monday night.

According to a staff report, the asset management software worth $21,400 would be incorporated into the district’s 2016-20 financial plan. The software would come with an annual licensing fee of $4,000. The report also earmarks $9,850 for staff training and implementation of the software, however, 50 per cent will be covered using an Asset Management Grant that the district received from Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

At the moment, the District of Lantzville manages its assets using spreadsheets set up on Microsoft Excel using eight main categories, which are then broken down into a multitude of subcategories.

The new software, which is provided by Ontario-based company CityWide Solutions, has the ability to provide council and staff with a detailed analysis of the district’s assists, such as road and water infrastructure. The program would be able to categorize and provide information regarding age, current condition, lifespan and amortization schedules.

Jeannie Beauchamp, District of Lantzville director of financial services, told council that there are “multiple benefits” with the new software, adding that it will enhance Lantzville’s ability to plan for asset replacement.

“Right now we don’t track the condition of our assets, all we have is basic age … it is very minimal data that we have,” she said.

Coun. John Coulson, who voted against buying the software, raised concerns about its cost.

“Is there something cheaper that we can do? Do we need this piece of software at $21,000 and $4,000 a year?” Coulson said.

Coun. Dot Neary said the software will not only give staff the tools for the job, but also not having an asset management software system would be “unacceptable.”

“We don’t have information assimilated in one place that gives the big picture in the kind of detail that is required in order to run a municipality efficiently,” Neary said.

Council will vote again on the software at its regular council meeting later this month.