A work in progress

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"Getting their due"

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community treats its trust management system like a work in progress, not a work of art.

"Over the last five years, we evolved it," management information systems manager Don Balint said of the system. "It's running out of steam. We've pretty much burned out [Microsoft Corp.] Access' capability. We know we have a problem coming up within a year."

The problem stems from fractionation, or division of land interests among heirs that expand exponentially with each new generation, forcing the system to deal with lengthy decimals.

But Salt River is already working on a solution. The tribe paid a contractor to assess the situation and is now in the process of moving the system's back end to an SQL Server 2000.

Earlier this year, Salt River spent $30,000 for a vendor's source code, used to make further upgrades to the system.

"We know we have to do this; it's mission-critical," Balint said. Eventually "we want to redesign the system completely."

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