Des Moines Takes E-Gov Plunge

WASHINGTON (08/14/2000) - Des Moines, Iowa, has taken its first step into e-government, signing a contract with Netgov.com Inc. to place several citizen services online by November.

Linked from the city's site (www.ci.des-moines.ia.us), Netgov.com will host a World Wide Web site that includes a searchable resource database that allows people to find a department with a keyword search, a complaint or request for service function, a searchable events calendar, and parking ticket payments.

Netgov.com will also provide the city with the capability to e-mail people information on specific topics that they sign up for.

"We feel that this is a great first step for out city," said Michael Armstrong, the city's information technology director. "It gives another direct way of communicating with our citizens."

Eventually, the parking ticket function will be tied into the city's back-end systems.

The city signed a three-year contract with Netgov.com. The city pays no money upfront for the first year, but will pay US$30,000 for the following two years, contingent on the city's approval of the applications. Netgov.com will also charge the city 7.5 cents per e-mail and add a $1 convenience fee to parking ticket payments.

Armstrong said Netgov.com was chosen because it "was the only company that concentrated on citizen services other than collecting money."

The next step in the e-gov field for the city could be a permitting application, Armstrong said.

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