MAT-SU—Adding more online services in a borough nearly the size of Scotland will be a great convenience for some residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. “It's a huge issue for the farthest reaches of the Borough,” said MAT-SU Borough Assembly Member Ron Arvin at a recent meeting where the increase of online services was supported by the Assembly. Business licenses, swim lessons, pet licenses, ice rink time, and trailhead parking passes are among the coming online transactions.
The MAT-SU Borough is 25,000 square miles. While most live closer, the outlying communities such as Talkeetna are a two-hour drive from Borough offices. Services accessible online remove the need for the long drive in many instances. Online services also remove time constraints for doing business. Instead of driving to Palmer, business owners will be able to acquire a business license online. Parents will be able to purchase swimming lessons when it is right for them, whether that is 3 pm or 3 am. The IT Department will be rolling out each new payment option as soon as it is ready to publish and advertise.
Borough Manager John Moosey said the work is a team effort. “This is another step we are taking to provide convenience and cost savings to those we serve. We will continue to seek ways to make the Borough services more convenient and effective.”
“We actually save money in the operations and overhead,” said MAT-SU Borough Assembly Member Steve Colligan. Colligan called the effort of moving many services online a “daunting task” but one that “helps Borough residents participate in local government.
The Borough’s Information Technology Department has been laying the groundwork for online services since 2009. “There was a lot of behind the scenes work needed for us to begin moving to a model where we can be agile and responsive to our public,” said Chief Information Officer Shannon Post. “Our focus is on improving the citizen’s user experience and hopefully enhancing quality of life,” Post said.
Some payment services are already provided online including real property tax, business inventory tax, bed tax, tobacco tax, Talkeetna Sewer & Water fees, ambulance fees, fire code fees, and Local Improvement Districts fees.
Ultimately, all transactions involving payment will be available online, including business licenses, pool passes, animal care fees, ice rink reservations, library fees, parking passes, park pavilion reservations, and training room reservations. Once this payment capability is in place, the possibility of other innovations in online services is wide open.
There is a convenience fee. It is charged by Point and Pay, the company that processes all of our online payments. It goes directly to them and does not come to the borough. The fee is 2.95% of credit card transactions.
For more information call Chief Information Officer Shannon Post at 907-745-9570.