How the Town of Palm Beach Manages Revenue Bond Documentation with Laserfiche
Contributed by: Chris Cartrett, Laserfiche Administrator, Town of Palm Beach, FL
Just like any other US municipality, the Town of Palm Beach is required by the IRS to keep all documentation related to revenue bonds (including exact documentation of how the bond money was spent) for the life of the bond plus three years. In most cases, this translates to 33 years. Here is how Laserfiche made this possible.
Laserfiche and Tyler Eden
Bonds are used to finance large infrastructure projects within the town, such as new sand for a beach that was hit by a hurricane or a new road building project. Each bond can have as many as 5,000 different related documents or attachments.
Palm Beach uses Tyler Eden financial management software to keep track of all financial documents including requisitions, purchase orders, change orders and invoices. Each Tyler Eden record can have multiple attachments. Attachments are stored in Laserfiche and are viewable in Tyler Eden through the Laserfiche – Tyler Eden integration developed with the Tyler Eden SDK.
This integration plays a key role in the automation of the revenue bond process.
The revenue bond process
The clerk’s office scans resolutions, agreements, bond documentation and contracts directly into Laserfiche.
A purchase requisition record is created in Tyler Eden and the attached requisition document is scanned directly into Laserfiche through the Laserfiche – Tyler Eden integration.
- Laserfiche Workflow then populates the Account Number and Project Number fields on the document’s template.
- The requisition is also tagged with the name of the bond to which it is related.
Once the requisition is approved, a purchase order is issued in Tyler Eden. Tyler Eden pulls over the attachments from the first requisition and makes them visible as if they were pre-existing attachments associated with that PO.
Another workflow runs every twenty minutes and searches for all requisitions that do not have an associated purchase order number. It then does a lookup into the Tyler Eden database to see if there is an associated purchase order and if it finds one, uses it to populate the requisition’s document template.
Since there may be multiple requisitions per purchase order, the Requisition # field is multi-value.
Here is what this workflow looks like:
One workflow runs when an attachment is made to a new purchase order, invoice or requisition. This workflow does the following:
- Extracts the account number from Tyler Eden and populates the related field in the template.
- Tags the document based on the bond to which it is related.
- Looks up other information in the Tyler Eden database to populate the remaining template fields such as Project Number.
- Moves the document to a type-specific folder. For example, purchase orders are moved to a PO folder.
Here is what the whole workflow looks like:
Occasionally the order is changed and a change order document is created. This document is also scanned into Laserfiche, where Laserfiche Workflow finds all associated purchase orders and requisitions and updates the account number field to also include the new, changed account number.
One feature of Tyler Eden that many of our employees used was the Note function. This is basically a Rich Text Editor where a user can leave a short note about a particular document directly within Tyler Eden. This note would then be viewable from Tyler Eden and saved with the document in the same folder.
I wanted those notes to be stored in Laserfiche alongside their related document but encountered some difficulty in trying to store these notes in Laserfiche in the same way as the other document attachments. If users opened and edited them, the changes would be saved on the local machine instead of in Laserfiche. I was able to solve this problem with Laserfiche Workflow.
This workflow does the following:
- Uses the Create Entry activity to create a blank document.
- Uses the Attach Electronic Document activity to attach an .rtf document to the newly created entry.
- Copies the Eden record’s metadata to the new note document.
- Creates another blank document to be used by the .lfe shortcut inside a Note Shortcuts folder.
- Uses a Script activity to create a new .lfe shortcut by creating the correct XML file.
- Temporarily saves the new .lfe shortcut on the server.
- Uses the Attach Electronic Document to attach this newly created .lfe shortcut to the blank note shortcut.
- Copies the metadata to the new .lfe shortcut and renames it.
- Uses the Create Link activity to link the shortcut to the blank note.
- Uses a script to remove the temporary .lfe file from the server.
Now whenever a user enters a note in Tyler Eden, this note is opened, updated and saved in Laserfiche.
Here is what the whole workflow looks like:
Back filling documents
As part of making the revenue bond documentation paperless, the town had to transfer a lot of legacy bond-related documents that were previously stored in the Tyler Eden content management server to Laserfiche. Since there were about 60,000 documents, this would have been an arduous process if it weren’t for Laserfiche’s ability to import .lst files.
All of the file paths to the requisitions, purchase orders, change orders and invoices are stored in tables in the Tyler Eden database. I was able to compile all of them into a .lst file, along with the metadata that I wanted to include and the Laserfiche folder structure where these files will be stored.
One drawback of Tyler Eden’s content management system is that if a document was moved from its original location on the server or even renamed, the link would be broken and the attachment would no longer be viewable. As a result, the file path information in the SQL tables was not always correct. I was able to identify as many as 3,000 of these documents. To get these imported into the system, I had to ask the relevant departments to give me the updated file path.
I simply dragged and dropped this .lst file into Laserfiche and all of the documents were imported from the server into the appropriate places. I manually ran the workflow that did lookups into the Tyler Eden database to populate information such as the account number and project number fields.
Advantages of Laserfiche
Replacing the Tyler Eden content management system with Laserfiche has had the following advantages for the Town of Palm Beach:
- IRS audits are now quick, easy and painless since all documents related to a particular bond can be pulled up with one simple Laserfiche search.
- Users are able to work directly in Tyler Eden, just like they were used to, but since all attachments are now stored in Laserfiche, they will still show up in Tyler Eden, even if they were renamed or moved.
- All associated requisition attachments are now visible within a purchase order. Previously, a bug in Tyler Eden only showed the first requisition’s attachments.
- Security tags protect each bond related document from accidental deletion. Searching by security tag makes it easy to retrieve all documents related to a particular bond, even if they exist in multiple locations throughout the repository.