Category Archives: E-Government Software

Over the Counter Licenses

A demonstration of how Citizenserve can help you offer instant, over-the-counter licenses to your constituents.

Instant, Express, On Demand, or Over the Counter Licenses describe a Licence that does not require review by the issuing agency. Citizenserve can configure your citizen portal to allow your constituents to apply and pay for an instant license online, then receive their licence in an email, or download it from the portal.

Instant Permits – Over the Counter Permits – Express Permits

Citizenserve can help you deliver express permits or licenses to your constituents. Contractors can fill out a simple online form, pay online, and download their permit.

Citizenserve also supports remote inspections. Jurisdictions can accept contractor or homeowner created video recordings, uploaded photographs, or can perform the remote inspection using conferencing software such as Skype. Contact us to see how we can help you implement remote inspections, express permits, or other online solutions to support your municipality.

Web Services Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the Web Service features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.11   Web Services

1.11.1. Describe the capability to provide web-based self-services, including the ability to allow customers to submit, track, and pay for services (inspections/permit information for example) and access their respective information (i.e., permits, plan review, inspection) online.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve provides a configurable and customizable online portal that allows citizens, contractors, and businesses to participate electronically in the processes of permitting, code enforcement, inspections, licensing, and requests. The portal can be configured as a link off of the City’s website.

  • Planning and zoning applicants can submit applications, attach plan documents, check on the status of an application, and pay application fees through the online portal.
  • With Citizenserve permitting software your contractors, architects, engineers, and property owners can apply for a permit, upload digital plans, schedule an inspection, pay application fees, and check on the status of an application online.
  • Citizens can report possible code violations and check on the status through the online portal. You can communicate with your citizens effectively and efficiently by using Citizenserve’s automatic notifications, automated letters, and email templates.
  • The Citizenserve online portal enables businesses seeking licenses to submit applications, schedule an inspection, upload copies of required documents, pay application fees, check on the status of an application, and download approved License Certificates and ID cards through the portal.

One critical feature in Citizenserve is the ability to set User Notifications and Assignments for each permit, license, and case type so staff and departments are notified when citizens, contractors, and businesses take action on the portal. For example, if a staff member requests a revised plan document, the notification matrix will let the staff member know when the document is uploaded.

1.11.2. Does the solution allow custom branding (City of Redmond logo, for example)?

Citizenserve Response: Yes.

1.11.3. Describe the ability to generate online permits for simple projects that meet defined criteria including data validation.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve supports flexible workflows that incorporate data validation; we can easily configure a workflow for simple permits that generates the permit online based on specific data validation. If the City elects, the online portal can be configured to enable the contractor to download and print the permit.

1.11.5. Describe the integration into the solution including the ability to process multiple payments or partial payments for both permits and invoices.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve can collect a single payment and apply it across multiple permits and/or invoices. Partial payments can be configured as part of the payment process; for example, requiring plan check fees to be paid up front. Multiple payments can be applied and tracked, with custom reporting available to show detailed historical payment information at the invoice level, permit level, or both.

1.11.6. Does the payment solution allow for guest checkout options?

Citizenserve Response: This depends on the payment processor that the City decides to go with.  Most payment providers provide for a checkout process that does not require “registration” or an account with the specific payment provider.

Financial, Cashiering, Fee and Payment Processing Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the cashiering and financial features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.9     Finance

1.9.1. Describe the solution’s capabilities to create, manage, secure, and report (ad-hoc and scheduled) on financial transactions.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve enables the implementation of complex fee calculations, and the maintenance of fee schedules is included in the subscription. Fee schedules can be end dated. To enable payments, we integrate with a customer’s payment provider(s); we do not store credit card information. All data in the database is encrypted, and web services using HTTPS or TLS encryption with authentication are used for communicating with external systems like payment processors.

Payment information, accounts receivable information, and other financial information can be sent to the City’s financial system via a web services integration, or through the creation and upload of a daily batch file.

Citizenserve has a standard suite of financial reports. We will develop any custom report to meet the City’s requirements as part of Citizenserve’s unlimited support.

1.9.3. Describe how payments are processed and posted.

Citizenserve Response: We integrate with the City’s payment processor(s) and do not store credit card information. Successful payments are recorded in Citizenserve, and associated balance due fields are updated. Unsuccessful transactions are also logged for follow-up.

1.9.4. Describe the refund process.

Citizenserve Response: User roles can be set up to take and modify payments. For refunds, payments are reversed in Citizenserve; this data is then passed to the City’s financial system via an integration or report, and the City’s financial system would process the refund.

1.9.5. Describe any financial controls the system provides.

Citizenserve Response: There are various configuration options to implement business rules in Citizenserve.  Conditions are often used to enforce business rules; for example, payment must be made before a permit is issued.

1.9.6. Describe the period/year end closing processes and financial reporting capabilities. Provide a diagram where applicable to illustrate the end-to-end process.

Citizenserve Response: Period and year end closing processes will be handled in the City’s financial system. Citizenserve will integrate with the City’s financial system via web services to pass AR, payment, and refund information. We we can create any kind of custom reconciliation report for the GL and/or Refunds.

1.9.9. Describe the solution’s integration possibilities with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Citizenserve Response: We can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 using custom web services or any available APIs. Citizenserve’s technical architects will be responsible for developing the code to send data from Citizenserve or accept data into Citizenserve; if an API is not available, the City’s resources will be responsible for developing the code to send data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 or accept data into Microsoft Dynamics 365.

1.10   Impact Fees

1.10.1. Describe the capabilities to manage and track impact fees, credits, and payments.

Citizenserve Response: We have great flexibility in configuring impact fees to meet the business rules of our customers; there is no “one size fits all” approach. Examples of impact fee calculations include basing the impact fee on meter size, tying the calculation to entries made from checkboxes and/or drop-down lists, other automatic calculations, or manual entries by staff. Staff can add credits to a customer’s impact fee, or credits can be calculated based on overpayments (if overpayments are allowed); credits can be carried on the permit and applied to the next payment.

1.10.2. Describe the capabilities for spatial integrated functionality for tracking impact fee information in specific geographic area.

Citizenserve Response: An unlimited number of custom fields can be created for properties and permits.  The fee table for each permit type can easily incorporate the custom fields into fee definitions with no programming.  Impact fees can be based on anything on the permit application or any property information.  Typically, property information will contain the necessary information about the location or GIS integration will provide the relevant information necessary for impact fee calculation.