Chelsea Schneider, Innovations Content Manager, Aim
Need to make a payment to the city or county? In Indianapolis, there’s a kiosk for that.
And through an expansion of an innovative pilot program, more Indianapolis residents will soon gain easy access to a kiosk, where they can pay in cash or credit for a variety of government fees and services. Especially for residents who pay in cash, the kiosks will increasingly mean they can skip the trip to the downtown municipal building and pay conveniently closer to home.
The program is all about Mayor Joe Hogsett’s focus on making city government more user friendly.
“When we launched Indy 3.0 last year, we acknowledged that the future of serving Indianapolis looks different in the 21st century,” Mayor Hogsett said. “The expansion of the kiosk pilot program builds upon our efforts to bring city government directly to neighborhoods, creating easier accessibility for residents to a wide variety of services.”
The program, which began in 2016 with a single kiosk for community corrections payments, has already been a big success. That kiosk, within the lobby of the Marion County Community Corrections building, has already conducted more than 21,000 transactions, amounting to $1.6 million in cash payments. Now, the city is planning three additional kiosks, with two of those machines being placed in Indianapolis’ neighborhoods and another within the City-County Building lobby. Along with community corrections payments, the kiosks will allow residents to pay for traffic and parking tickets.
Especially for residents who rely on public transportation or don’t have a bank account, the neighborhood kiosks will offer a more direct line to city services. That means residents can skip an inconvenient trip to downtown. And they can potentially incur fewer late fees or avoid the need for a money order because the kiosks accept cash.
“Expanding this pilot program continues our push for accessibility and convenience when it comes to government service,” said Ken Clark, the city’s chief information officer. “Citizens should be able to engage with their government and complete transactions on their own schedule. Advancements like the new indy.gov make this possible, but our work to build upon this effort is far from over.”
Eventually, the hope is for residents to have the option of paying property tax payments and a whole host of services and fees on a kiosk. The program coincides with the city’s revamped online payment portal, pay.indy.gov. Because the city has already done the technology infrastructure to allow for online payments, adding new options to a kiosk is fairly easy, Clark said.
“The kiosk program is another chance for us to make sure that our citizens don’t have to come downtown for services – that is always an option and you’ll always be able to – but with our city being the largest number of square miles in the entire state, we have to reach further out to be able to get everyone the services they need,” Clark said.
However, cities and towns of all sizes could benefit from payment kiosks, especially those with municipal utilities, Clark said.
“A good fit is those redundant transactions, high volume, where you currently have a high cash population,” Clark said. “If you have data that tells you that and you have enough square mileage that it is at times difficult or inconvenient for people to make it to your payment location, start to think about how you can provide those services in a location that is valuable to your citizens.”