Des Moines takes e-gov plunge

Des Moines, Iowa, has taken its first step into e-government, signing acontract with Netgov.com 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 thatallows people to find a department with a keyword search, a complaint orrequest for service function, a searchable events calendar, and parkingticket payments.

Netgov.com will also provide the city with the capability to e-mail peopleinformation 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 wayof communicating with our citizens."

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

The city signed a three-year contract with Netgov.com. The city pays nomoney upfront for the first year, but will pay $30,000 for the followingtwo years, contingent on the city's approval of the applications. Netgov.comwill also charge the city 7.5 cents per e-mail and add a $1 conveniencefee to parking ticket payments.

Armstrong said Netgov.com was chosen because it "was the only company thatconcentrated 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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