Uploaded by bmathatho

e-government-white-paper

advertisement
E-Government: Efficient, Effec
ve, Electronic Government
Contents
E- Governemnt Survey: Why Should You Care? ............................................................................. Page 2
E-Government Explained ................................................................................................................. Page 3
“E-Government” can mean
in a literal sense “Electronic
Government”, and refer
to various computerbased technologies used in
governmental opera ons.
In a broader sence, the
term must also evoke the
efficiency, effec veness, and
ease that accompany these
technologies - technologies
that are already at work
throughout the public and
private business world.
E-Government is Already at Work ................................................................................................... Page 3
Filing Permits Online ........................................................................................................................ Page 4
Paying Fees, Fines, and Taxes Online ............................................................................................... Page 5
GIS Integra on ................................................................................................................................. Page 5
Green Compnent ............................................................................................................................. Page 7
Budget Sustainability ....................................................................................................................... Page 7
Regional Precedent: Gra on, MA .................................................................................................... Page 7
Regional Precedent: Franklin Regional Council of Governments ..................................................... Page 9
Summary .......................................................................................................................................... Page 10
Next Steps ........................................................................................................................................ Page 10
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
1
E- Government Survey: Why Should You Care?
YES
Does your city hall or town building staff feel they can’t focus on their work due to constant interrup ons from
‘walk-ins’ and phone calls?
YES
Are the Building Department and Board of Health overwhelmed with the amount of paper work and interdepartmental research needed to process a permit or license?
Are fees not collected or deposited to appropriate accounts as o en or fast as needed?
YES
Can the communica on between departments and commi ees be improved?
YES
Are permi ng decisions delayed or made without all the necessary informa on?
YES
Does it take a long me (if ever) for notes from site inspec ons to be entered into the official record?
YES
YES
Are residents and contractors frustrated by the lack of easily accessible informa on and perceived delays from
municipal opera ons?
YES
Do you need a long term solu on to help make local government sustainable and slow down annual cost increases?
Results:
If you answered YES to any of these ques ons, then E-Government may help make the work of municipal
employees more efficient, effec ve, and - equally important - easier. Techniques similar to those of
E-Government have been successfully employed by the private sector for years - why not in your town?
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
2
E- Government Explained
E-Government can mean in a literal sense “Electronic Government”, and refer to various computer-based
technologies used in governmental opera ons, including the distribu on of informa on and services.
A be er defini on of
E-Government - and the
focus of this paper - is the
use of technology to improve
municipal Efficiency and
Effec veness.
In a broader use of the term, E-Government includes exis ng uses of electronics in government such as
large-scale use of telephones and fax machines, surveillance systems, as well as new tracking systems such as
RFID tags, and even the use of television and radios to spread government-related informa on. In this sense,
E-Government is not a new phenomenon by any means. The use of radio waves to spread disaster warnings, or
to give informa on on vo ng, is a facet of E-Government that has been in use for many years.1
The concept of E-Government today and in the future deals heavily with Internet applica ons to aid in
government opera ons.
A be er defini on and the focus of this paper is the use of technology to improve Efficiency and Effec veness
in Government.
E-Government is Already at Work
Examples of Exis ng
E-Government
Implementa on:
• Municipal Webpages
• Obtaining Online
Copies of Permits
• Paying Taxes Online
• Email
• Library Renewals
• Emergency
Communica on and
No fica on
Improved dissemina on of informa on and accessing permits online is already in wide use in municipal
government.
How many visits per day or phone calls to the Building Department office are the result of property owners
and contractors reques ng and filling a building permit applica on?
Does the Town Clerk office have a lot of traffic from residents
asking for copies of town by-laws?
Does the Board of Health receive a lot of walk-ins and phone calls for well or sep c permits and informa on
about flu clinics?
Pos ng this informa on on a municipal web site can greatly
improve service to residents AND reduce the interrup ve nature of these requests on municipal employees.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
3
The pos ng of informa on is the first step towards E-Government. The next step in this progression may
include the following:
• Newsle ers automa cally emailed to subscriber distribu on lists
• Implemen ng “Reverse 911” systems to expediently no fy the en re community or specific residen al
areas about important public safety issues.
• U lizing “Social Media”; Twi er, Facebook etc. to easily update a large number of residents about certain
pre-selected issues; school closing, parking bans, road closures, etc.
The concept and fun on of E-Government begins to reach its full poten al when it includes:
• Filling permits and license requests online
• Paying fees, fines, and taxes online
• GIS Integra on
• Data consolida on and sharing
These vital next steps are all explored in the remainder of this document.
Filing Permits Online
Being able to pick up permit applica ons online is part of the process towards E-Government. The next step is
filling these permits out online, as well. There are addi on ‘hurdles’, but also addi onal benefits for both the
applicant and the municipality.
Being able to pick up permit
applica ons online is part
of the process towards
E-Government. The next step
is filling these permits out
online, as well.
Online permit submission requires ‘back-end servers’ and specialized so ware applica ons to process these
transac ons and collect the appropriate fees. The DMV has been implemen ng this process for mul ple years.
Municipal systems are readily available from several experienced vendors. They may also be in use in other
area communi es that are willing to contract out these services.
Once the permits are in digital (electronic) format, the poten al to enhance opera onal efficiency is
significant:
• Submit applica ons for work on Projects without visi ng City/Town Hall.
• Request or reschedule an inspec on.
• Faster turn around and more efficient permit processing.
• Schedule inspec ons directly from your processed permits, and add detailed inspec on request
informa on for your inspector.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
4
Paying Fees, Fines, and Taxes Online
Private enterprise has been using E-Commerce for years. Most ci zens are very familiar with ordering and
paying for goods and services online at a company’s web site. Why not u lize the same processes for municipal
services?
In the same way that people can purchase products via the Internet, there are services available for municipalies to offer online payment op ons to their taxpayers via a website.
These municipali es give taxpayers the ability to pay by electronic check transfers or credit card payments 24hours a day. The community typically sets up a link on its website called “online payment,” which redirects the
taxpayer to the third-party website.
The City of Fall River, MA
already uses “Online Bill
Pay” for its real estate tax
payments.
The service provider / third-party can create its page to look like the municipal website or not. At that point,
the taxpayer has the ability to pay for their tax, excise or fee using either an electronic checking transfer
or a credit card. The E-Check op on is usually free, while the credit card fee is passed on to the user. The
“customer” will receive an email confirming payment. Ideally, once the system is in place, the collector sends
the tax, excise, or u lity commitment to its service provider, who would upload it into their system. The service
provider can then wire the money to the municipality, or deposit it directly into a deposit-only bank account
in the municipality’s name. The third-party service provider should also provide the municipality with an
electronic and hardcopy register of payments received. If the municipality and the vendor have compa ble
so ware, the collector can download a record of payments received and post them immediately.”2
Residents can obtain the services sooner and much more conveniently than trying to visit the Town Hall when
the office is open, which can be difficult during their normal work hours. The collected funds (fees, fines, taxes)
can reach the town’s bank accounts sooner through E-Government enabled direct deposit.
The paper work normally associated with ‘walk-in over-the-counter visits’ is replaced by digital informa on
that is easy to file, track, report, retrieve, and store.
GIS Integra on
This is where the ‘magic’ occurs. Elimina ng or at least reducing the paper work with electronic records is
great. However, the integra on with other systems is the real advantage.
Digital maps and aerial photos can be a ached to building permits. Radius no fica ons (Abu er No ces)
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
5
can easily be generated. The viewing of related issues, such as other permits, complaints, other projects, land
records, zoning, wetlands, drainage structures, owner details, contractor informa on, etc can automa cally
become part of the permit file.
For larger communi es, GIS informa on enables the rela ve geographic loca on of each site to create
schedules and suggest the rou ng of daily inspec ons.
“A geographic informa on
system (GIS), or geospa al
informa on system is any
system that captures,
stores, analyzes, manages,
and presents data that are
linked to a loca on. In the
simplest terms, GIS is the
merging of cartography,
sta s cal analysis, and
database technology . . .
In a more generic sense,
GIS applica ons are tools
that allow users to create
interac ve queries (usercreated searches), analyze
spa al informa on, edit
data, maps, and present
the results of all these
opera ons.” 3
The above image is a screenshot taken from a GIS depic on of building permits (in red) issued in the Town of Shrewbury, MA.
The permit data was georeferenced - that is, given a coordinate on the ground - and delivered to the public in Google Maps.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
6
Green Component
Along with the more obvious benefits of more efficient municipal opera ons, there is an environmental benefit
resul ng from the use of E-Government systems:
• Less paper used, means fewer trees to be cut, and less paper to be thrown away
• Electronic access to municipal departments means fewer vehicle trips. A er deploying an E-permit
system, Connec cut’s Capital Region COG es mates a reduc on of 111,000 miles driven and 98,000 kg of
CO2 per year.
Budget Sustainability
The ghtening of municipal budgets is forcing governments to find a be er long term solu on. Departments
will not be able to con nually add staff as the number of residents and permits increase. They will have to find
ways to do more with their current staff level. E-Government implementa ons can help improve opera ng efficiency and make it possible to make government opera ons more sustainable.
Regional Example: Gra on, MA
An implementa on of E-Government - specifically E-permi ng - was created by the Town of Gra on via
funding from the Commonwealth and is available for use by other Massachuse s communi es.
Municipal Permit tracking System (MPTS) is based upon 2003 Microso Access database and requires
customiza on for each addi onal municipality. Database templates and data dic onaries along with a starter
kit and user guide are available. This system provides permit tracking, but not full permit document genera on
and management. It is not designed to replace commercial permi ng packages. But it does provide
municipali es that have the appropriate IT skill sets with the opportunity to create and implement their own
E-Government permit tracking system.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
7
With a fully integrated E-permit system, all of the other municipal reviews and approvals required for each
building permit, as well all other inspector sign offs can be ed together electronically even allowing updates
from mobile devices at each site. There are mul ple commercial versions of this type of solu on available today. These third party systems can offer turnkey solu ons with the vendor handing all of the data
integra on and customiza on issues.
Screenshots (right) of
the Town of Gra on’s
E-Permi ng System illustrate
various steps in the online
process as well as the userfriendly interface.
Any individual who has
purchased plane ckets,
changed email se ngs,
or filed taxes online has
experience with this type of
form.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
8
Regional Example: Franklin Regional Council of Governments
The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is also implemen ng an E-Permi ng service. The new system
will automate many elements of the permi ng process. Simple permits will be obtainable over the internet,
and the process of verifying contractor licenses and ensuring that no taxes are owed where the construc on is
taking place will be automated.
It will provide a highly visible example of how a regional approach can lead to improved services and greater
efficiency. It will enhance economic development by making construc on, remodeling, and other
development projects easier and less costly. It will encourage residents and business owners to get required
permits. Finally, it will help hard working municipal staff work more efficiently in a me of
ghtening budgets and reduced staffing.
A similar effort in Washington State yielded the following results: Contractors will save over $400,000 in direct
labor costs in one year using the system . . . average u liza on for online permits was 49 % and some agencies
have exceeded 60 % u liza on. Permit counter lines are shorter, freeing staff to spend more me with
customers that need assistance with more complex projects.
Summary
The need to change past
prac ces and adopt new
solu ons that are more
efficient is here now and
will only become more
demanding in the future.
When the ‘paper-work’ in a municipal department is piling up, instruc ng employees to work harder or
more over me is only a short term answer. However, it isn’t a sustainable solu on. Municipali es are facing
deficits, making the hiring of addi onal office support or payment for extra hours unlikely. Many residents are
also facing difficult financial mes, and thus are less likely to accept or vote for tax increases.
Now is the me to “work smarter”, not harder. Changing historical opera ng policies and methods is not
easy. The cost associated with the acquisi on, training, and ongoing support needed for new E-Government
solu ons will not be trivial. However, the long-term benefits can greatly out way the start-up costs and show
favorable ROI. The need to change past prac ces and adopt new solu ons that are more efficient is here now
and will only become more demanding in the future.
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
9
Next Steps
SRPEDD is not advoca ng a specific E-Government solu on, nor are we suppor ng or recommending
specific products or vendors. However, we are available to help facilitate E-Government changes.
Pending local interest, SRPEDD will help communi es inves gate E-Government solu ons; organize group bids
for service and so ware applica ons; explore joint purchases; and coordinate the implementa on of
compa ble solu ons between communi es for addi onal benefits. The cost of these solu ons can be split between mul ple communi es, while each community maintains control of their processes and receives the full
benefits of the new E-Government solu ons.
If you are interested in exploring the E-Government benefits for your community, contact:
Ross Perry
Municipal Management Specialist
SRPEDD
88 Broadway
Taunton, MA 02780
[email protected]
508-824-1367 Ext 239
Addi onal E-Gov material - including the case studies listed below - are available on the SRPEDD website at
h p://www.srpedd.org/e-gov.asp :
Denton, TX
Escondido, CA
Fresco, TX
Greenville, TX
Presco , AZ
Redwood City, CA
San Rafael, CA
References:
1
h p://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-e-government.htm
2
h p://www.mass.gov/Ador/docs/dls/mdmstuf/Technical_Assistance/Best_Prac ces/OnlineBillPayments.pdf
3
h p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographic_informa on_system
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District • 88 Broadway • Taunton, MA 02780
10
Download
Random flashcards
State Flags

50 Cards Education

Countries of Europe

44 Cards Education

Art History

20 Cards StudyJedi

Sign language alphabet

26 Cards StudyJedi

Create flashcards