Technology plays an important role in many aspects of everyday life. Abbeville City Hall continues to see changes that stay abreast of that demand.
The city recently installed a kiosk outside of City Hall that will allow citizens to pay bills 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The machine is located in the spot of the old drop box.
The kiosk is located in front of Abbeville City Hall Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza said. “It is taking them a little bit of time to get used to it.”
There has been plenty of positive response. Since the kiosk, which operates similar to an ATM, went live on Nov. 23, 275 transactions have been completed. Those transactions have totaled $42,638, half of it coming in the form of deposited checks. The other half is a combination of cash, credit or debit cards and money orders.
“I am impressed with the number of people who have utilized it,” Piazza said. “It is more than I anticipated.
“That number will continue to grow as more people become familiar with it.”
The city can easily track the kiosk’s transaction history. “The software that comes along with the kiosk gives us daily reports on the number of transactions,” Piazza explained. “It shows us how much money has been taken in.”
The report also shows if a transaction is not completed properly. That step can help alleviate potential problems.
“If someone claims they tried to pay,” Piazza said, “it will show us if they are telling the truth. It’s an accurate form of accounting for us compared to just having an ordinary dropbox, where people can claim they put money in, and maybe they did and maybe they didn’t.
“This offers us a form of accounting that is a lot more accurate than what we have had (in that spot) in the past.” There are still other ways to pay bills and other fees that do keep up with the present. Citizens can make payments online through a link on the city’s website (www.cityofabbeville.net). Payments can also be completed on the phone by calling 1-800-701-8560.
“This is also being well utilized,” Piazza said of those two options. As for the city’s website, that will soon see a facelift. “We are working on a brand-new website that will be more user friendly,” Piazza said. “That website should be up and ready by the end of the year.”
There are other changes, prompted by the kiosk, that Piazza said will be seen at city hall. With people having the option to pay at the kiosk during all hours of the day, the drive-through window at city hall will be closed during lunch hours at some point in the future. That would make city hall completely closed from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Piazza said that would help with scheduling.
“We do plan on closing the window at a later date,” Piazza said. “We haven’t made the decision yet on when that will be. That was an ultimate goal. The staff has been reduced at city hall and it has been a problem staffing the drive-through window during lunch hours when the lobby is closed.
“Everyone would be able to go to lunch at the same time and it would make scheduling much easier.”
Piazza said he feels the changes, including the kiosk, will have a positive effect.
“It was a lot of forward thinking on the part of the (City) Council,” Piazza said. “I think the council is very concerned about making it simpler for their constituents to make utility payments and not have to suffer from late-payment penalties and those types of things.
“This kiosk will hopefully make things as accommodating as possible.”