E-services mount in Montana
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Aug 07, 2001
Montana's official Web site is ramping up its online interactive services.
Two months after launching an electronic service to enable residents
and visitors to buy annual state park passes, Montana last week introduced
a function for users to find and buy official documents about companies
doing business in the state.
The service was needed because the Secretary of State's office was receiving
900 phone calls a day from banking officials, attorneys, business owners,
entrepreneurs and residents about registered companies, said Mike Muller,
general manager of the state Web site (www.discoveringmontana.com). Discovering Montana is marketed, operated,
and maintained by Montana Interactive, an NIC subsidiary.
"They're not staffed for 900 phone calls a day," he said. Since the
service was unveiled, there has been a reduction in the number of phone
calls, but Muller couldn't say by how much.
The new service is also a boon for constituents. For example, Muller
said banks processing loans for businesses require a certificate of existence,
which shows a company is in good standing. Normally it takes 10 days to
process requests, including sending and receiving payments and correspondence.
The new service enables banks to instantly download and print the certificate,
considered an official document. Users can also print certificates of authorization
In October, Muller said the state will launch an online professional
license renewal service for the state Board of Nursing, which accredits
about 14,000 nurses annually.
The state is also in the initial stages of developing online applications
for hunting and fishing licenses for residents and tourists, as well as
vehicle registration renewals with the Motor Vehicle Division. Muller said
he wasn't sure when these services would be rolled out.
Web-based services are needed, Muller said, not because residents are
waiting in long lines, but because "the driving distance to a county seat
or public library or government office is 200 miles."
He said nearly 50 percent of households have a personal computer and
Internet access, and he expects "a fair amount of usage" of the government
site. Muller said the challenge is to get the word out about the online
In addition to a press conference, Muller said the state is planning
to distribute brochures to businesses advertising the latest service.