GovHost.com Moves Local Govs Online

Cities and counties now have another option for moving their government services online with the April launch of GovHost.com.

Launched by VC3 Inc., a systems integrator based in Columbia, S.C., GovHost.com offers a suite of 13 virtual government modules via an application service provider business model. The suite of services includes the ability to pay utility bills, property taxes and traffic citations; the ability to apply for various permits; and the option of receiving e-mail notification for current or over-due bills.

The ASP model, which is largely used by small- and midsize businesses, has the government entity's online services outsourced and handled by VC3 at a data center. The governments are not required to buy the software but simply subscribe to it, said David Dunn, president and chief executive officer of VC3.

"By doing that, they lessen their need for on-site integration services, while providing an e-commerce presence," Dunn said, adding that the ASP model does not require charging citizens transaction fees for services. "Cities don't want that extra fee charged to citizens to use the service. They want to push citizens online for cost savings down the road."

GovHost.com costs $500 to $1,000 per module per month, and most cities pick two or three modules. Compare that with the $80,000 price tag for municipalities to purchase the necessary hardware and software, plus the annual $10,000 in maintenance it would cost to host the services on their own, Dunn said.

GovHost.com is targeted at municipalities with populations between 2,000 to 100,000 people.

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