Mayor Don Wesely today announced the City of Lincoln is "open for on-line business," offering new e-commerce services, and he encouraged citizens to use the City-County web site at www.lincoln.ne.gov to conduct their city business.
"Our local government web site is helping us to create a 24-hour-a-day City Hall, where people can transact City business with us from their homes at their convenience," said Mayor Wesely. "Just last year, the Center for Digital Government named Lincoln as one of the Top 10 Digital Cities of our size, and we continue to be a national leader in the area of web services." A report conducted for the Mayor’s Technology Council identified the availability of on-line public services as a characteristic of communities that are successful in the "new economy" driven by technology.
On-line services to pay parking tickets began in February, on-line residential water bill payments started in March, pet license renewals have been available on line since April, and citizens have been able to purchase criminal histories on line since late June.
"We are working to make sure the City of Lincoln is an on-line community that is on the leading edge of offering digital services," Mayor Wesely said. "With the increasing use of personal computers and on-line financial services, we want Lincoln to offer as many on-line services to citizens and businesses as possible. The newest service of offering criminal histories will be an especially valuable and time-saving service for businesses or schools checking on job applicants and for landlords verifying information on tenant applications."
The next service scheduled to go on-line is property tax payments through the Lancaster County Treasurer’s Office, but no date has been set. The only other Nebraska county currently offering that service is Sarpy County. The Mayor said the City also plans to develop on-line services for permits issued by the Building and Safety Department and the City Clerk’s Office.
As of June 30, 1,040 parking tickets were paid on line, totaling $18,220; 219 customers used the web to pay a total of $19,015 in water bills; and 30 people renewed animal licenses, totaling $490. In the first 10 days that criminal history records have been available on line, 17 people have used the service, generating $153. A total of nearly $38,000 has been collected through on-line services this year.
Mayor Wesely said on-line bill paying has the potential to generate more revenue for the city, especially from criminal history checks and parking tickets. Vehicle owners are subject to having their cars towed for tickets not paid within 15 days. In May, the City mailed a notice to all ticket holders whose payments were overdue, informing them of the option of paying on line. That month, more than 900 people used the on-line service to pay tickets.
"This is just one example of how on-line services can make a positive difference for citizens and for our budget," said Wesely.
City Information Services Manager Doug Thomas said those who pay for services on line receive a receipt at the time of payment. With water bill and parking ticket payments, the payment is posted within seconds.
"If someone is in danger of having their water shut off or having their car towed, that fast recording of the payment is a huge advantage over mailing," Thomas said. "This also benefits those people who prefer to use their credit cards for all payments in order to receive the incentives from the credit card companies."
A transaction fee is charged for on-line payments. The transaction fee may vary depending on the service. Citizens can use MasterCard and Visa for payments. Wells Fargo Bank provides the coordination between local government and the credit card companies. The transaction fees go directly to Well Fargo and the credit card companies.