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Posted: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Covington utility bills to go online with new Web site

City of Covington utility customers will soon get the choice of paying their bills by mail or online once a new Web site goes live in February.

On Monday the Covington City Council approved a $32,500 bid from the company eCare for the creation of a new Web site that will allow customers to review their utility bills online, pay them online and print them out.

Bobby Johnson, IT manager for the city, said the site was expected to go live by the end of February.
After originally wanting to charge $55,000 for the utility bill Web site, Johnson said eCare agreed to come down significantly in price. The $32,500 bid includes the cost of building the site, set-up and $10,000 for yearly maintenance.
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This is going to be by far the cheapest option," Johnson said, adding that three other Web site companies contacted for price estimates all wanted to charge a minimum of $50,000 for the site.

Johnson told the city council at their work session that the site would be "totally customizable" and would even allow customers to create online work orders for the city. Interface work to allow online payment with credit cards and debit cards has already been done he said.

Customers must choose whether they want to receive their utility bills online otherwise they will continue to receive them in the mail. Customers cannot receive both their bills online and in the mail the council decided, or else that would defeat efforts to save money on the cost of sending out monthly utility bills.
The utility bill Web site will mesh nicely with the city's own new Web site, which is expected to go online early next year, Johnson said. Both sites will probably go live at the same time, he said.

"I want to make it very dynamic," Johnson said of plans for the city's official Web site.
Plans for the site include a feature that allows residents to submit questions to various departments such as Human Resources and the Planning Department and receive responses.

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