Providing online tools for citizens, utility customers and local businesses to interact with their local municipality has become more and more prevalent over the years. Generally speaking, larger municipalities have been found to provide these tools more often than small to medium-sized municipalities. Now, amid the COVID-19 crisis, it has become a prime necessity for all municipalities to provide online tools, no matter their size.
The following tools are commonly provided by your financial, utility billing, tax and/or building permit software vendor and include the option to perform several processes online:
- Receive your utility bill electronically with the ability to opt out of receiving a paper bill
- Pay your utility bill online
- Request services such as a leaky meter repair, a final read because you are moving, etc.
- Request or complete a permit application
- Pay for the permit online
- Print the permit and view the status of the permit throughout the approval process
- Request and schedule inspections
- View status of license
- Pay for license online
- Print the license
- View your property tax bill online
- Pay your property taxes online
- View property tax bills for any parcel
- View assessed value and other information related to the parcel
- View code violations, complaints and/or building permits issued for the parcel
These are just some examples, and more tools exist. Providing these tools increases the municipality’s service levels to its constituents. Oftentimes, the cost savings achieved by implementing online tools can offset the price to implement them. In addition, they help to achieve several other goals:
- Provide efficient communication between constituents and the local municipality
- Reduce the amount of walk-in traffic within your municipal building
- Decrease staff time required to manually enter information. Online information should seamlessly integrate back into the financial, utility billing, tax or building permit software without the need for double-entry
- Lessen staff time to interact or answer questions from constituents, as the information is available online
Baker Tilly’s technology team is prepared to assist municipalities with online tools. If you have questions about implementing any of the tools listed above, please reach out to our team.