January 18, 2019 aglsupport

Cartegraph System Will Make Municipal Accountability Easier

By Debbi Christinck, Staff Writer for the Eganville (Ontario) Leader

Eganville — The cartegraph system being phased in for Bonnechere Valley staff gives a broad overall view of the municipality, with the goal of providing a contiguous image of municipal assets and areas of need.

The new program, which was showcased for council last week, will make monitoring assets, locating problems and keeping records much easier for all departments including the public works crew, water and sewer, and fire department. Multiple systems and departments can be accessed through this one program as a major record keeping tool for the township.

“I was the first to complain about asset management but now I can see the benefit,” Mayor Jennifer Murphy said following a lengthy presentation last Monday afternoon on the Cartegraph Operations Management System (OMS). “We know what roads need to be done and what needs to be replaced and when it was done.”

The video conference presentation during a committee meeting of council showed how the Cartegraph system allows the township staff to quickly input work requests, work updates and to see links to what has been done previously. Staff is being trained in using this new system on a phased-in basis, with two workers trained at a time. Once all staff is trained, it will be much easier to keep records of what is being done and also when issues were spotted which need to be addressed.

“Each user can set this up based on what is needed on a daily basis,” Jared Stokes said while explaining the new system via teleconferencing. He explained it would also show numerous items including which worker has logged the most hours, the distribution of water mains and service reports in the last 30 days among other things.

“The map shows what is outstanding and you can see where the issues are spread out,” he explained.

As council and some members of staff looked at the overhead screen, a map of the village of Eganville was displayed showing locations of not only assets, but also trouble spots.

“I can see where the pothole issues are and a garbage complaint,” Mr. Stokes said as an example. “When I take a call, I can pull the information from the tax roll and link it. The system will ensure it ends up with one central request if two or three people call with the same issue.”

The data can also look at the life of assets following an incident and assess where the lifetime is shortened by the incident, he explained.

At present, the work done in the navigator is activity based. For example, it can look at how long ago a road was plowed. The system can also be used to see when signs were last cleaned or when pipes were last relined. It can detail storm culverts, hydrants and signs.

“We want everything relevant moving forward tied to an activity,” he explained.

Staff is “real time” connected to make updates with a phone or tablet as well.

“And if you buy a new plow truck, it will have a preventative maintenance schedule here,” he added.

For payroll, the tool can be used to see if the appropriate hours were entered by an individual.

“It is their time entry system,” Mr. Stokes said.

Public Works Supervisor Bill Kennedy said the cartegraph system is still in the test stage and is being implemented slowly with two employees currently trained and more to come. This will save on time for staff, he believes.

“One thing that impressed me is we can take the tablet and put a new asset in right away,” he said.

Mayor Murphy said this will be excellent in terms of liability and also proving when a road was plowed and a pothole was fixed.

“This will certainly help, like the GPS on the plow,” she said. “I love the asset management side of this.”

Councillor Tim Schison questioned if the current system is working now or if it was failing.

CAO Bryan Martin answered municipalities are moving forward to a new, more challenging system and this is part of that.

“Our whole process started in 2005,” he said.

As part of this new process, residents will be able to install an app where they can submit concerns, he added.

“It creates a work request that shows up on the tablet,” he said.

Debbi Christinck is a reporter with the Eganville (Ontario) Leader, an independent community newspaper serving Renfrew County.