Lawrence, Indiana Wins StateScoop’s Local Smart Award for Local IT Innovation of the Year
The City was recognized for their initiative to promote accessible self-service bill pay
The City of Lawrence, Indiana, has been named a 2021 recipient of StateScoop’s LocalSmart Awards in the category “Local IT Innovation of the Year.” The City’s innovative use of payment kiosks has provided no-fee, self-service access for customers who pay their city utility bills in person due to preference or need — including for customers paying in cash.
Back for its third year, StateScoop’s LocalSmart Awards program honors the inspirational people and projects making city and county governments more efficient and effective. The awards celebrate the achievements of those who work to make a lasting impact in the government IT community. StateScoop readership cast more than 1 million votes to select the 2021 award recipients, nearly quadrupling 2020 vote tallies.
“Local government continues to be the most direct line of government to residents, and these past two years have really shown the ability of the remarkable leaders recognized here to step up and serve,” said Jake Williams, StateScoop’s Vice President of Content and Community. “This year’s winners have dedicated and sacrificed so much to service. We’re so proud and honored to recognize them.”
About the Project: Accessible Self-Service Bill Pay
Lawrence has made utility payments easier for all customers. With CityBase, they’ve installed two self-service payment kiosks that provide 24/7 access for people to pay their bills when it’s convenient for them. Customers can use the kiosks in English or Spanish to pay their utility bills with cash, check, and card.
The kiosks were implemented in 2020 to increase payment choice while reducing risks for Lawrence employees and residents, since they eliminate person-to-person contact. Lawrence’s investment in self-service, no-fee payment options that serve in-person customers has ensured that people continue to have safe, easy, and affordable access to stay current with their important bills.
The secure kiosk technology is cloud-based and uses a real-time integration to the City’s underlying customer information system, allowing customers to look up their current amount due. Payments post instantly to customer accounts, helping people stay current on their important utility bills even when they pay after business hours.
“To have a system that was integrated and provide that real-time feedback, customers knew exactly how much they owed and the due date,” says Tyler Douthit, Controller & Utilities CFO for the City of Lawrence. “It gave customers the confidence that their payment was being taken, and they didn’t have to call in to double-check. It has also helped staff shift to more of a customer service related role instead of processing payments constantly.”
Since introducing the payment kiosks, Lawrence expanded their partnership with CityBase to transition their web payments to the same secure payment platform. This promotes easier self-service options for customers who pay online, including mobile-optimized functionality and the ability to enroll in automatic recurring payments. Lawrence staff can manage all transactions in real-time, for both online and in-person channels, through CityBase Revenue Management.
“Keeping the kiosk and the web platform together on one revenue management tool helps reconciliation that much more,” says Douthit. “It’s eliminated some time by not having to do all those processes, so staff can focus more on customer service.”
Related video: Watch an on-demand discussion with Tyler Douthit, City Controller & Utilities CFO for the City of Lawrence, on how they prioritized customer experience for cash and digital payments. Access the video →