Municipal services

South River modernizes municipal services

“The first noticeable difference in the next 30 to 60 days will be the village’s ability to accept online payments for things like taxes and water bills.”

Residents of South River should notice a big difference in the way they are able to do business with the village in a few months as the municipality moves forward on a modernization program.

The first noticeable difference in the next 30-60 days will be the village’s ability to accept online payments for things like taxes and water bills.

But residents still love to visit City Hall, and Clerk-Administrator Don McArthur says South River is hoping to have a debit machine available when the lockdown ends.

“The public is asking questions about the use of speed,” McArthur admits. “This is a common request at our reception desk. “

Technology that residents and businesses in large centers take for granted is becoming a reality in the village of approximately 1,100 people thanks to a provincial initiative to help small communities modernize.

“The province announced this program last spring and we were successful in getting a grant application,” said McArthur.

He says the $ 80,000 grant enabled South River to hire KPMG to conduct a municipal service delivery review.

However, McArthur says this is just the start.

“On a larger scale, we will be looking for funds to update our municipal software and possibly our phone system to go from an analog system to a VoIP system,” he says.

The cost of technology is considerable. However, the village will not have to pay the conversion bill in full.

As an extension of last year’s funding for the modernization review, McArthur says the province has developed a “separate program to help implement modernization projects.” The deadline to apply is March 15th.

At this point, McArthur is not sure exactly how much money the village will ask for, as this process is still ongoing. But, he says, the modernization application will be “complete”, based on the services identified by KPMG in its review.

The parameters of the provincial implementation program allow communities to apply for $ 20,000 to $ 200,000.

Depending on the final look of the app, McArthur says the new technology could be in place later this year not only in the city office, but also in the local arena and public works.

None of the new technologies will lead to job losses, he says.

“We’re not looking to cut services,” he says. “We are looking to improve our services as part of our modernization.

Rocco Frangione is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative who works at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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