Wednesday, April 14, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

City aims to do
business with citizens
on the Internet

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


Within a few years, Oahu residents could handle most of their city transactions online under a bill introduced by City Councilman Andy Mirikitani.

The bill calls for the Department of Information Technology to make available "electronically interactive online government forms" on the Internet by the end of this year.

While some forms are available online, most are not, Mirikitani said.

People would be able to access most nonpayment forms, such as applications for park camping permits, fill them out and submit them via a computer and modem. They also would be able to print out hard copies of applications they retrieve online.

Mirikitani said software for nonpayment, online forms is readily available. "You can go to the store and buy the program," he said.

The measure also calls for the department to develop a pilot project to install an Internet payment system by the end of the year. Mirikitani estimates that online money transfers could be up and running within the next two years.

"There's no reason for the delay when other cities have moved forward in modernizing their information technology to serve the public more efficiently," he said.

Carol Costa, spokeswoman for Mayor Jeremy Harris, said a number of informational materials, including some forms and applications, are available on the city's Web page now.

She said people connecting to the Web page can find public notices, information on driver and other types of licensing, grading and grubbing permit applications, property tax assessment details and recycling.

Web surfers can also send e-mail to department heads and request forms can be sent to them via the Postal Service, she said. "As for things you can fill out and return, we're not at that point yet," Costa said.

The city wants to work with Mirikitani, she said, because "certainly electronic commerce has a lot of merit."

But the city first must deal with other priority issues such as establishing a paperless work force by reducing in-house paperwork, and upgrading personnel work stations, she said.

The bill is expected to get its first reading before the City Council April 28.

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