Wilton creating online document database

Published 4:41 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

More than 80 years ago, flames destroyed a town hall in one of Shelby County’s smallest communities.

In addition to losing its mayor’s office, council chambers and one its earliest landmarks, Wilton also lost nearly all of its public records, deeds and ordinances when its town hall burned to the ground in the early 1900s.

Today, the new town hall, which was built in 1934, houses thousands of paper copies of its records dating back to the year the new town hall was constructed.

But because fire has already once destroyed the town’s archives, Wilton officials are now taking a 21st-century approach toward ensuring the disaster never repeats itself.

This summer, Wilton will become the third Shelby County municipality to install the VendorVault Document Management System, which was developed by the Birmingham-based TriNovus financial software company.

Through the VendorVault program, Wilton will be able to archive all of its town council minutes, agendas, ordinances, resolutions, deeds, leases, vehicle titles and contracts on an Internet database.

“Our first town hall burned, and when it did, we lost everything,” said Wilton Town Clerk April Price. “This will just allow us to have the added security of having all that information stored on one online database.”

The town will implement the document management program when it launches its new city website in mid June. The website will also integrate the town’s online water bill payment system, which the city recently began offering.

As of May 13, town officials had not yet finalized the town’s website address.

“Sometimes, when you have a part-time mayor or city council members, it can be difficult to get in touch with the city,” said Starr Largin, a TriNovus marketing representative. “This program will give everyone access to town hall 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Allowing online access to the town’s documents will help Wilton save money on copies, and will allow town residents to take care of many items without having to travel to the town hall, Price said.

The system will also keep track of contracts the city has entered, and will ensure city officials do not miss a contract renewal date or stay in a contract too long, said Largin.

“This program will notify the city by e-mail when it is time to renew their contracts,” Largin said. “Sometimes, cities are just automatically paying on contracts for things they don’t even use anymore. This will help them manage all of those contracts.

“It will also give the city the high, medium and low costs of what their peer cities are paying the companies they are contracted with,” she added. “It can be used as a bargaining tool.”