MOULTRIE, Ga. — Moultrie’s city council approved all items on the agenda Tuesday and one of them includes a change in the utility e-billing system.

The council approved a $175,981 bid for a new utility billing software from Tyler Technologies in Lubbock, Texas.

It was one of three bids for the software, City Manager Pete Dillard said.

“You’re not approving a low bid,” he said. “We have a lower bid, but it’s a software that has never worked with smart meters.”

The council approved the installation of smart utility meters for half a million dollars back in 2010 and choosing the lower bid would’ve voided their usage. Tyler Technologies offered the medium bid and was marked by Dillard as “the software of the future.”

Amongst its compatibility with the smart meters, the newly approved utility billing system gives its customers an early warning system via email, phone calls or text messages and a customer portal where they can see a graph tracking their utility usage.

Dillard said the council is also considering a customer kiosk to help pay bills.

“Let’s just say we have people now who have credit problems or payment problems,” he said. “To get the power turned back on they have to pay a double deposit as well as their old bill. If we can go to [the kiosk option], they can come and pay their old bill and [if] they want enough electricity for the next week, they can pay that.”

Thus it would bring in a system of various prepaid utility options. The new utility billing system won’t have the option, but it will work with the machine that would potentially give that option.

“If you have bad credit, it’s cheaper than paying a double deposit — it doesn’t put that burden on them,” Dillard said. “I wish everybody could pay their bills, but people have things happen.”

This option is not what they’re buying currently, but one that could come down the line.

A $495,097.56 bid for a new Sutphen Corporation fire truck was also approved and it will replace two trucks with faulty pumps. The truck’s selection comes courtesy of Moultrie Fire Chief Jeff Thibodeau and a fire truck committee.

Also approved was an American Public Gas Association agreement for mutual aid in case of disasters and other circumstances, and an alcoholic beverage license for John Burdon Jr. and his business Club Unique.

The city council, fire department and some Moultrie denizens got to say goodbye and celebrate the retirement of Assistant Fire Chief Lamar Plymel who officially retired on Nov. 30.

He leaves with 42 years under his belt in serving the city and was given a resolution in recognition of it, which was read by Mayor Bill McIntosh.

“I feel that we and the City of Moultrie are so fortunate that we have the best employees in the state of Georgia and Lamar is an example of that,” McIntosh said. “He’s given his life to this city and has done such a marvelous job with all his associates. We appreciate your service.”

The next council meeting will be on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.

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