Category Archives: E-Government Software

Financials and Cashiering, Fee and Payment Processing Q&A

This Financials and Cashiering discussion, including Fees and Payment Processing was prepared in response to a formal Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read on for 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 abilities to create, manage, secure, and report (ad-hoc and scheduled) on financial transactions.

Our Response: Citizenserve enables complex fee calculations, and your subscription includes fee schedules maintenance. Fee schedules include end dates. 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. We use web services with HTTPS or TLS encryption with authentication to communicate with external systems like payment processors.

We also use web services or a daily batch file to send Payment information, accounts receivable information, and other financial information to the City’s financial system.

Our software includes a standard suite of financial reports. We also develop custom reports to meet the City’s requirements as part of our unlimited support.

1.9.3. Describe how payments are processed and posted.

Our 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.

Our Response: We configure our user roles with rights to take and modify payments. For refunds, simply reverse the payment in Citizenserve; through integration or report, we pass the data to the City’s financial system, and the City’s financial system processes the refund.

1.9.5. Describe any financials and cashiering controls the system provides.

Our Response: Citizenserve provides multiple ways to implement business rules.  We use conditions to enforce business rules; for example, a condition can require payment before issuing a permit.

For more information about these services, view this Online Cashiering Services Demonstration

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.

Our Response: The City's financial system handles period and year end closing processes. Citizenserve integrates with the City’s financial system via web services to pass AR, payment, and refund information. We create any custom reconciliation reports for the GL and/or Refunds.

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

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

Our Response: We have great flexibility in configuring impact fees to meet your business rules; there is no “one size fits all” approach. Impact fee calculation examples include basing the fee on meter size, or tying the calculation to application checkboxes or drop-down lists. More examples include automatic calculations, or manual entries by staff. Staff add credits to a customer’s impact fee, or calculate credits based on overpayments (if overpayments are allowed); credits are carried on the permit and applied to the next payment.

1.10.2. Describe spatial integration functionality for tracking impact fee information in specific geographic area.

Our Response: We create an unlimited number of custom fields for properties and permits. The fee table for each permit type can easily incorporate the custom fields into fee definitions with no programming. Any custom field on the permit application or in the property information can trigger Impact Fees.  Typically, property information contains the necessary location information or GIS integration provides the relevant information necessary for impact fee calculation. Thank you for your interest in Citizenserve Financials and Cashiering.

About Us


Citizenserve is a cloud-based community development software suite. We configure our software to meet your needs. In addition to Business Licenses and renewals, we also offer solutions for online Building Permits, Business Licenses, Development Projects, Code Enforcement, and Requests. Explore our site see how we support community development!

Here's what one customer says our software:


“This modern, intuitive, and easy-to-use software system will provide complete customer care to help our municipality provide online services to our residents. With the COVID-19, we saw how important it was to be able to connect with our residents using technology. Citizenserve will help enhance the building department processes by making it quicker by decreasing waiting times, submitting applications, and paying for applications online. The goal will be to eventually manage the entire permit and licensing system online from intake, through plans review and on to inspections.” See the full article here.

Citizenserve e-Government Development Services – Q&A

This discussion of Citizenserve e-Government Development Services is our response to a formal Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read on for more information about some of the Development Services features included in our e-government software solution.

1.3.1. Provide a simple diagram or outline of the permitting system process. The diagram should depict the end-to-end range of a permit lifecycle from the pre-application process, permit fees, plan review, building permit fees, issuing permits, inspections, through the final approval and certificate of occupancy.

Our Response: Citizenserve Permits, licenses, case types, and file types are highly configurable.  This flexibility is necessary as hundreds of jurisdictions use our software for various types of permitting, licensing, inspections and enforcement.  The following short demonstration provides an overview of an example permit process:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permitting-overview/

1.3.2. Describe your solution’s capability to accept and review plans, issue development related permits, and track inspections.

Our Response: Citizens, contractors, and businesses work electronically with the City through the online portal.  They upload plan documents, review markups and comments, request inspections, review inspection results, etc. electronically.  Citizenserve delivers a built-in browser and device independent markup and comment tool.  Below are some short video demonstrations related to submitting plans and plan review:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permitting-overview/

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permit-inspections/

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/online-permit-applications/

1.3.3. Describe the functionality for reminder and or expirations for development processes. Describe the ability to set alerts based on business rules to ensure deadlines for time in possession and business commitments are maintained.

Our Response: The workflow review routes are set up with timeframes and the user's home page displays overdue activities.  We support workflow routes for all development, permit and license application types.  Metrics track and identify overdue timeframes.  Here’s a short video demonstration on workflow routes:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/workflow-routing/

1.3.4. Describe your solution’s processing for duplicating a repetitive process and “cloning” permits.

Our Response: Citizenserve Permits are configured with custom fields that make up the application form.  We set up a custom process to copy a permit type into a new permit application.  We usually call this tool a “report”, but it is an interactive feature that does system processing.  The creation of unlimited reports like this is included in your subscription.  These are most helpful in master plan communities where developers use master permits to create new permit applications for similar projects.

1.3.5. Describe your solution’s capability to link all projects on a specific parcel, address, and/or a large development in order to track dependencies and history.

Our Response: All development, permit, license, case, and file types are linked to a property or set of properties.  When reviewing a property any file types are displayed, so everything about a location is in the property view.  When looking at a project, all permits on that project are available; for example, when looking at a contractor, all of the contractor’s projects are displayed.

1.3.6. Describe your solution’s capability to manage and monitor Historic Preservation processes including demolition permits.

Our Response: Historic Preservation processes and demolition permits are just different permit application types owned by their respective departments with their own interdepartmental workflows.  Citizenserve e-Government Development Services are a flexible solution for special permit types and processes.

 1.3.7. Describe any limitations to the number of different plan reviews or permits that your solution can handle.

Our Response: Citizenserve allows an unlimited number of permit types with an unlimited number of custom fields per application.  Each permit type allows an unlimited number of review routes which includes an unlimited number of review activities.

1.3.8. Does your solution distinguish between a plan review and a permit?

Our Response: Yes, file types are configured as Development Projects or Permit/Building Projects.  These are configured at the Organization, Department, and Sub-department level; so it is easy to separate Public Works Development Projects from Building Departments Development Projects.

1.3.9. Describe the solution’s capabilities to reference ordinances and building codes, and other regulations, i.e., state statutes. Provide a description of how this information is loaded and updated.

Our Response: Setting up codes and ordinances is included in the initial setup and implementation.  Updating codes and ordinances is included in the unlimited support.  The administrative features in the software are easy to use, so departments can also update their respective codes and ordinances without submitting a support request, if desired.

1.3.10. Describe the solution’s ability to integrate with the Washington State Labor and Industries system for the purposes of validating Contractor licenses.

Our Response: Since Redmond already uses Citizenserve for business licensing we may already have established this integration.  Generally, a http link built into the system as a custom field is an easy way to make a lookup into another system that is available through the internet or a http request.

1.3.11. Describe the solution’s ability to integrate with Business License management applications, such as Citizenserve.

Our Response: The City uses Citizenserve for business licensing so there is no need to integrate with Citizenserve.

1.4     Resource Management

1.4.1. Describe the solution’s ability to optimize and plan inspections routes. Elaborate on the capability to manage assignments based on geographic location leveraging GPS/AVL technology, skills certifications, workload, and priority.

Our Response: Our inspection scheduling processes is highly configurable.  Your subscription includes unlimited support, which includes the creation of interactive custom reports that can perform processing.  Some of our customers have complex rules for optimizing activities like inspections and the interactive custom reports with processing provide ultimate flexibility in implementing and refining process improvements.  The following video demonstration provides an overview of the general inspection features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permit-inspections/

And thank you for allowing us to discuss Citizenserve e-Government Development Services with you.

About Us


Citizenserve is a cloud-based community development software suite. We configure our software to meet your needs. In addition to Business Licenses and renewals, we also offer solutions for online Building Permits, Business Licenses, Development Projects, Code Enforcement, and Requests. Explore our site see how we can support your community development efforts!

Here's what one customer says our software:

“This modern, intuitive, and easy-to-use software system will provide complete customer care to help our municipality provide online services to our residents. With the COVID-19, we saw how important it was to be able to connect with our residents using technology. Citizenserve will help enhance the building department processes by making it quicker by decreasing waiting times, submitting applications, and paying for applications online. The goal will be to eventually manage the entire permit and licensing system online from intake, through plans review and on to inspections.” See the full article here.

Reporting 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 reporting features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.13   Reporting

1.13.1. Describe the capability to provide standard reports for operational, managerial, and executive reporting.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve includes a robust offering of standard reports; in addition, the development of an unlimited number of custom reports is included in the subscription.

1.13.2. Describe the solution’s capability to provide ad hoc tools or templates that provide the ability for users to create their own reports based on available elements.

Citizenserve Response: There is a built-in end-user reporting wizard in Citizenserve that allows non-technical users to design their own reports and share the reports with others. The reporting tool supports the use of custom fields on the application forms. End users can create their own tabular, map, chart, and merge reports.

1.13.3. Describe the solution’s ability to support both ad-hoc and scheduled reporting.

Citizenserve Response: There is a built-in end-user reporting wizard in Citizenserve that allows non-technical users to design their own reports and share the reports with others. The reporting tool supports the use of custom fields on the application forms. End users can create their own tabular, map, chart, and merge reports.

If the City prefers, users can request the creation of a custom report at any time as part of Citizenserve’s unlimited support. Citizenserve has same-day turnaround on most reports. Our staff will create a SQL script in a stored procedure that is rendered by the software and can contain process features and HTML. The SQL scripts create maximum flexibility.

Scheduled reports are available for an additional fee.

1.13.4. Describe the solution’s ability to allow for the creation of actively updating dashboards for both internal users and external customers.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve provides multiple, actively updating dashboards to enable your users to quickly obtain the information they need, and can configure other dashboards as part of our unlimited support. The user dashboards are flexible and configurable, and can be configured to meet the specific needs of individual users filling different roles.

1.13.5. Describe the solution’s analytics capabilities, both native and integration with Business Intelligence tools, such as Power BI.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve uses Microsoft SQL Server as its database engine.  A copy of the database can be provided for data warehousing and business intelligence purposes.  Unlimited custom reports are included in the subscription and an end user report writing tool is built into the software.  Reports can be exported as Excel or CSV files for use with end user analysis tools.

Geographic Information System (GIS) Integration 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 features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.7     Geographic Information Systems

1.7.1. Describe the solution’s integration capabilities with ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute)-based GIS systems and services.

Citizenserve Response: Most Citizenserve customers have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.

1.7.2. Describe features offered, ESRI solutions and versions supported.

Citizenserve Response: Mapping features are built into the software.  Wherever the map pin is available users can click on the pin icon to see their permitting, licensing, and case files on a map.  Reports can also be rendered as a map rather than a table and the information included in each file can be easily customized.  Citizenserve uses the Google Map API and all features available through the Google API can be incorporated into the software.  Most Citizenserve customers also have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.  This short demonstration video provides a general overview of features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/mapping/

1.7.3. Describe how the system allows real time access to the GIS services and associated databases in order to query the latest address, parcel, zoning, neighborhood, and other relevant datasets?

Citizenserve Response: We will set up two-way integrations to the City’s GIS rather than accessing the data downloads the City provides on its redmond.gov website, since the City is requesting real time access. We will use web services for the integration.

1.7.5. Describe the solution’s capabilities to provide geographically based analysis, data, and reports.

Citizenserve Response: Mapping features are built into the software.  Wherever the map pin is available users can click on the pin icon to see their permitting, licensing, and case files on a map.  Reports can also be rendered as a map rather than a table and the information included in each file can be easily customized.  Citizenserve uses the Google Map API and all features available through the Google API can be incorporated into the software.  Most Citizenserve customers also have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.

Any of the data available from the Google Map API and/or the City’s ESRI GIS are available for reporting and analysis.

This short demonstration video provides a general overview of features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/mapping/

1.7.6. Describe the solution’s integration capabilities to provide an interactive mapping component with the ability to create custom queries and reports.

Citizenserve Response: The end user reporting tool that is built into the software allows end users to create tabular reports, map reports, and merge reports that merge a list with a template like an expired permit notice.  Using HTML, the reports can be interactive with drill-down capabilities, etc.  The creation of unlimited custom reports is included in the Citizenserve subscription, and any user can request a report at any time and our support team will create the report definition and put it in the user’s reporting folders.  This video demonstration provides a short overview of reporting features in Citizenserve:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/reporting/