Bellevue to consider outsourcing

Bellevue Council will consider a suggestion to outsource much of the borough’s accounting work, although some officials question whether Bellevue really will get its money’s worth from the move.

The suggestion comes from council’s finance committee. Committee chair Kathy Coder introduced Tom Joseph of Bookminders at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting.

According to Joseph, the company handles accounting work for about 400 nonprofits and small businesses from offices in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Municipalities, including Munhall Borough, also are among the company’s clients.

Coder said that a big part of what the company would do is data entry. Council president Mark Helbling said that financial clerk Ann Moss has a great deal of work to do, and cannot get it all done because so much of her time is spent entering transaction data, including coding for accounts payable. Her talents are being wasted, said director of administrative services (DAS) Ron Borczyk, who said that it might be possible for Moss to take some classes and become more involved in writing grant applications if her time was freed up.

Joseph said that Bookminders will put controls in place so that the borough can track all financial transactions. The company will not handle payroll, and both he and Coder recommended looking at a payroll service.

Coder said the cost to the borough, based on the number of monthly transactions, would be $1,700 per month.

Some officials, however, questioned whether the expenditure really would be balanced out by outsourcing accounting work. Borczyk would not commit to the elimination of one part-time office position, saying that there was a lot of work to be done in the administrative offices. Treasurer Joe Scioscia said that the most important thing for Bellevue in terms of tracking expenditures was coding them by budget line item, something Moss would have to do.

There also was some question as to whether the company would actually pay the borough’s bills, although Coder said that she believed that was part of what the company would do. The company would reconcile all the borough’s accounts and work with the auditors, she said.

Coder also said that the $1,700 cost could be reduced by outsourcing the borough’s payroll, and that the price was less than what it would cost to pay the health insurance premium for a full-time employee and that employee’s family.

Borczyk admitted that the borough had just received the information last week, and that he and Moss needed to discuss it further. Coder said that she planned to make a motion at council’s regular meeting to hire the company, “and see how that goes.”

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