The Controversial Truth About Local Government Payments
Welcome, municipal staff members and administrators! Today we’d like to address a controversial topic that is often overlooked - your local government payment system.
Have you ever received a complaint from a resident about a payment issue? Perhaps someone received a late fee or had trouble paying their bill online. Issues like these can create a headache for both you and the resident. Because, traditionally municipal payment systems are paper-heavy and have intense use of resources, both time and human resources. But, did you know that these complaints might not be due to human error, but rather a flaw in your municipal payment system? Many municipalities are facing similar problems when it comes to their local government payment system.
But not to worry, there is a solution that has been proven to work: by moving municipal payments online, without hassle and helping increase the municipality’s efficiency, saving them a bunch of time!
Payment Issues Are a Big Deal
Let's face it, payment issues can have a significant impact on your residents. A late fee may seem small, but it can be a major source of frustration for someone already struggling to make ends meet. And if the payment system is difficult to navigate, it can deter residents from using it altogether. Additionally, if no changes or improvements are made to the process and residents continually struggle to complete payment forms - it can cause a lot of frustration both in the community and for the municipality.
The Root of the Problem
The root of these problems can often be traced back to outdated payment systems that don't fully integrate with modern technology. For example, some municipalities still rely on manual data entry to process payments. This can lead to errors and delays that not only impact residents but also internal processes.
The truth is that sometimes, municipal wheels turn slower than we’d like. And, although the process likely works well, the way in which it is done is outdated. No doubt, the world moves fast nowadays, and it can be difficult for municipalities to update processes that best serve the community with the tools that are available.
So what is the solution to this problem? The answer is using tools that are available, to ‘upgrade’ your municipality. A digital transformation for the municipality, in short! By using a modern and fully integrated payment system, residents will be able to access all the services they have had before, just online. This includes payment forms, permits, facility rentals and more. Many municipalities have already made the switch and experienced significant improvements for both themselves and their residents.
Shippensburg Township, in Pennsylvania, has a population of just over 5,500 residents. This municipality uses facilities such as the pavilion and the splash pad for events, during summer months. In the lead-up to summer, bookings for these facilities have been opened starting June 1. During the month of April, 18 facility bookings were done using HeyGov. To put this into context, a facility booking takes approximately 20 minutes: with HeyGov, it’s completed and paid for in 7 minutes, this means cutting the time spent on each application by more than 50%! For 18 applications it would traditionally have taken six hours, but will now be done in less than three hours.
The Village of Elm Grove, in Wisconsin, hosts a population of over 6500 residents. They currently process 138 payments in the last 30 days, which is 4.6 payments done per day and over $20,000 paid to the municipality within this time frame. Imagine being able to set up a portal for citizens to make payments, so your municipality can spend the resources serving the community in other ways.
How to Implement
Implementing a new payment system may seem daunting, but the benefits are worth it. Think of it in terms of a long-term process to update processes and improve efficiency in the municipality. The first step is to research the different options available and determine which system will best suit your municipality's needs. Consult with other municipalities, trusted colleagues and former Clerks for advice and guidance on the systems they use and their experience.
Next, it's important to communicate with your residents about the changes and how they will benefit from them. Make sure to provide clear instructions on how to use the new system and offer support if needed. Check user analytics and feedback to be sure it's working as intended.
A Win-Win Solution
A modern and fully streamlined payment system can solve many of the challenges that municipalities face today. By eliminating errors, reducing late fees and increasing convenience for residents, this type of digital system is a win-win for everyone. Don't let outdated payment systems hold your municipality back, but instead, take the necessary steps towards a more efficient and effective system.
To make this digital transformation journey less overwhelming, download this checklist to help guide the municipality through the process.