LANCASTER – A number of South Glengarry councillors feel the township’s website needs more options to allow residents to pay small-ticket items online, like dog licences or recreation program registrations.
The topic came up as council approved $5,150 in work last week that will be done to make the website compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). That has to be done by January.
“I think we need to modernize our payments. In this new world of COVID, we had to shut our office down for safety reasons. I think allowing our residents a portal on our website to access their accounts with payment options, I think is a very strategic move forward,” Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden said.
“That is the expectation of residents now that they are able to do online payment, they are able to do electronic payment,” Coun. Stephanie Jaworski said.
Coun. Sam McDonell called it “a wise move” considering there are people with seasonal properties who have to pay by cheque or drive to the municipal office to pay.
A number of councillors also want a better complaints process online.
Running and hosting the South Glengarry website costs the municipality roughly $7,000 a year.
While receptive to online payments, CFO Lachlan McDonald warned about allowing credit card payments for municipal taxes.
He says the township, using North Dundas as an example, would stand to lose about $40,000 a year in tax revenue by allowing residents to pay taxes online by credit card due to the administration fee of 2.5 per cent.
“That 2.5 per cent Visa or Mastercard cost would be 2.5 per cent on the whole bill and the whole bill, the counties nor the school board will accept us paying them 2.5 less. So that 2.5 can become anywhere from 5 to 6 per cent,” McDonald said.
McDonald said he would explore and get numbers for South Glengarry.
While he agreed with all the online technology, Coun. Martin Lang also plugged the fact the township still has a real person answer the phone. “I think the internet is great but don’t quit answering the phone. Let’s keep that personal (service) so if somebody calls there’s somebody to talk to.”