City Receives Maximum Reimbursement After Natural Disaster

Client Name: Plant City, Florida
Number of Employees: 500
Population: 38,000
Number of years as a Tyler client: 7

Challenges

Plant City, Florida, has been a client of Tyler Technologies for seven years, using core Munis® financial applications. With more than 38,000 people populating the hurricane-prone city and less than 500 employees, it is imperative to have effective and accurate software to streamline data and improve emergency response.

In September 2017, the city was faced with natural disaster: Hurricane Irma. Not only did citizens and staff need to stay safe, the city's employees had to solve the challenges that came with it so that they could serve their citizens the best they could.

During a natural disaster, the city receives reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). From prior experience, requesting reimbursement can have its challenges. Making sure that data and record keeping were accurate, up-to-date, and completed on time, were vital to receiving the maximum amount of reimbursement possible.

"The immediate outcome was remarkable. We monitored time entry to make sure the time entered and charge to 'hurricane time' matched the hours, dates, and amounts we reported to FEMA…Training users how to attach purchases to a project was easy compared to the amount of time it would have taken accounting to pull all the information from specific general ledger accounts.

Amy Clark

Chief accountant, Plant City, Florida

Solution

To ensure the city and its citizens were reimbursed after a natural disaster, Plant City decided to look for a new solution that could aid them during a hurricane and solve the challenges they face afterwards. Since they already use Munis Project and Grant Accounting™ Project Ledger in Munis with Capital Project and Grant Management, they realized it was a perfect solution to manage their data after a natural disaster.

The city used Munis Project and Grant Accounting™ and Tyler Reporting Services to monitor time entry and all purchases, including card purchases and requisitions/purchase orders. Munis Project and Grant Accounting allowed the city to establish one project without attaching a specific general ledger account to it.

Results

Project IRMA was established, and charges from every department flowed through both the project and the appropriate line item in the department's budget. FEMA reimbursement is not immediate, so ultimately the departments were responsible for these expenses. The aspect of reviewing time entry before it was processed using Tyler Reporting Services was a huge part of the decision to use Munis Project and Grant Accounting.

The city wrote a report in Tyler Reporting Services to monitor the hours coded specifically to the hurricane pay codes and aligned them with the project code. Using this report, they were able to monitor time entry charges to the project and correct them when needed. Purchases made prior to establishing IRMA as a project were able to be recorded accurately, and invoices captured in Tyler Content Manager™ mimicked the invoices correctly coded to the project.

The city is very pleased with the outcome. They are now able to pull reports from Munis today, tomorrow, and in the future to provide proof to FEMA of expenses. Since they utilize Tyler Content Manager, they also have the archive of the purchase orders and invoices.

"The immediate outcome was remarkable. We monitored time entry to make sure the time entered and charged to 'hurricane time' matched the hours, dates, and amounts we reported to FEMA. We can print reports of employee's time and match them to the FEMA required reports. Training users how to attach purchases to a project was easy compared to the amount of time it would have taken accounting to pull all the information from specific general ledger accounts," said Amy Clark, Plant City's chief accountant.

"Using the Tyler products worked well for the city, but this idea would not have been possible without having a staff member to find the solution. Thank you goes to Amy Clark, chief accountant." Diane Reichard, chief financial officer.

It is critical that Plant City is successfully reimbursed for expenses accrued during Hurricane Irma. By using Munis Project and Grant Accounting, Tyler Cashiering, and Tyler CAFR Statement Builder, the city was able to quickly and easily roll out the documentation process citywide and have established a process they can use now and in the future.

Case Study Highlights

  • With Project IRMA, charges from every department flowed through both the project and the appropriate line item in the department’s budget.
  • Monitoring time entry ensured all time entered and charged to "hurricane time" matched the hours, dates, and amounts reported to FEMA.
  • Using Munis Project and Grant Accounting, Tyler Cashiering, and Tyler CAFR Statement Builder, the city was able to quickly and easily roll out the documentation process citywide and have established a process they can use now and in the future.

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