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Modern Government Fee & Fine Processing Models 2023: Everything to Know

By Harrison Kelly

Your local government’s budget is directly impacted by fee and fine collection. Whether your local government is collecting a fee for permit applications or using fines to enforce local policies, the right processes will allow your local government to increase revenue and generate previously unrealized revenue which in turn can be allocated towards improvements in your community and make it easier to enforce ordinances. 

Unfortunately, many local governments are still using antiquated workflows that make it difficult to enforce code policies and collect the money earned from fees and fines. In this article, we’ll explain the problems that come with inefficient - often antiquated - government processes, and offer insight into how using modern government management technology can improve your processes and generate more money for your local budget.

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Why Are Fees & Fines Critical to Local Government Success?

Your local government has a responsibility to allocate funds and enforce local ordinances that have a direct impact on your constituents’ quality of life. By collecting fees and issuing fines, your government can achieve both of these objectives.

Here are a few of the many benefits of improving your fee and fine processes:

  • Revenue generation: if your local government is encouraging economic development in the form of construction and business registration, collecting fees for permit and license applications can add a serious amount of money to your government budgeting. The same holds true for annual recurring license fees such as pet licenses and rental property registrations which generate predictable income for your government. The same applies for applications and document requests across departments.  Learn more about key Local Government Revenue Generation Sources

How Does Government Technology Help with Fee Collection?

In embracing government software, you can add simplified fee and fine collection modules across departments and make them accessible from your government website. 

Here are the ways that going digital for your fee and fine processing can help your local government:

1. Paying online is simpler for everyone

It’s easier for constituents to pay their fees with simplified online processing for permit and license applications as well as fines for local violations. 

As for your county or municipality, GovPilot government software offers simplified integrations with various processing partners that can accept credit card payments, including Authorize.net, CardX, Elevation, and 9 other popular options available for your government website.

Learn more about What to Look for in Digital Government Payment Services.

2. Financial data updated in real time 

When your local government collects any fees or fines, financial dashboards will be updated for each department and / or for your municipality as a whole via in real time. 

Using data will make it easy to discern when revenue for your locality is being generated and will help to look for patterns in the types of ordinances regularly being violated. 

3. GIS mapping technology to keep records and find trends

Any time a fine is distributed for a parking ticket or ordinance violation, code and parking enforcement officials can mark the location at hand for future reference with government GIS mapping software. These virtual records can be utilized for code enforcement officers to reference when determining if there are previous offenses when issuing a fine.

As for your economic development department, recording the physical locations of where construction and business applications are filed will be helpful for using data to dictate which parts of town are seeing an increase in economic investment and new residents. For more information on improving a specific area of town, explore our guide to Building a 15 Minute City.

Pro Tip: GIS mapping can revolutionize processes and data collection for every government department. Learn more in our guide to the Ways Local Governments Can Benefit From GIS Mapping Software.

4. Report a concern software makes it easier to enforce local policies 

With a simple cell phone app for constituents to report concerns to their government officials, it’s much easier for constituents to have their voices heard and their quality of life raised. Issues from noise complaints to parking in an illegal area can be passed along to government officials that can make sure the issue is addressed.

Constituents will be glad to see action being taken over the issues in your community. Local policies will be enforced much more easily. Fines for violations will raise revenue to be applied to your local budget.

How Can Your Local Government Encourage More Civic Engagement? Read on for more information.

5. Budgeting tech simplifies fee and fine fund allocation

Consider all of the good that can be done to improve on local physical and tech infrastructure with the funds collected from fees and fines. Financial dashboards that are updated with real-time data (including but not limited to fine and fee records) will showcase how much money is coming in and which subcontractors, assets, infrastructure projects, etc. dollars are being allocated towards.

Look to allocate fees and fine revenue in ways that benefit the community. Noticing a lot of parking fines in a particular area? Consider using budgeting software to allocate funds towards the development of free parking areas in that part of town. Budgeting technology makes it easy and effective to allocate funds towards high priority local infrastructure projects.

6. Records of applications and fines are easily accessible in the cloud

With cloud-based government technology, anytime an application fee is processed and the documentation is submitted, it will be backed-up online and automatically accessible in just a few clicks to all relevant government officials. 

As for code enforcement, digital forms will be automatically stored in the cloud and added to the relevant location in your local GIS maps. 

What Are the Types of Fees & Fines Your Local Government Should Consider?

Your local government may not be collecting certain fees and fines that are justifiable to collect. Or existing fee and fine processes may be poorly enforced and not generating as much potential revenue for your budget as possible. 

Here are the types of fees and fines your local government can collect on your website with ease:

1. Parking Fines & Permit Requests

Whether you’re close to the shore, in packed city streets, or have a downtown in your small town, chances are there are areas that people will be inclined to park in illegally. If people are taking spots from local residents or parking in forbidden zones, your parking enforcement officials can issue tickets and record the location of the fine in your GIS map.

How does parking software help? 

  • Parking permits can be applied and paid for via your government website
  • Parking fines can be paid by credit card via your government website
  • Fine and application records are immediately accessible to code enforcement and other relevant government officials

2. Business Registration

Anything from a restaurant to your local cannabis dispensary can file online with a business registration module. Upon the completion of a business license application, GovPilot’s credit card processing integrations can process the application fee. 

How does business registration software help? 

  • Online business license filing
  • Increased application completion rates (which means more $$$ in fees + economic development) 
  • Online filing from anywhere 24/7, 365
  • GIS maps record the physical location of new businesses
  • Speed the review and certification process through digital efficiency, increasing overall economic development

3. Code Enforcement Violations

Issuing code violation tickets is simple with tablets that issue on site violations. And with online payments, tourists and constituents alike will be more inclined to pay up with simplified digital processing. 

With GovInspect, GovPilot's mobile inspection app code enforcement officials can easily send violations and fines directly from their tablet or mobile phone in the field.

4. Rental Property Registration

Whether someone wants to rent their property out to long-term renters or as a vacation rental, online applications make it easy to encourage constituents to rent to new residents and tourists. You’ll boost the local economy with more people in town, and collect application fees / taxes on all types of rentals.  

In an area where there are a lot of empty properties? You can encourage constituents to register vacant properties online as well and include required annual fees 

Learn more in our case study: Big Bear Lake Encourages More Short-Term Vacation Rentals with GovPilot and generates more predictable revenue.

5. Other Popular Online Payment Types

You can also consider collecting online payments for the following:

  1. Pet license applications
  2. Document requests
  3. Vendor permits
  4. Tax payments
  5. Utilities payments 
  6. Maintenance fees 

Collecting Payments in Local Government the Right Way

Collecting revenue from online fees and fines is integral to your local government budgeting and code enforcement. Online workflows simplify the entire process for fee and fine collection, from issuing on site violations with code enforcement software via a tablet, to accepting permit and license applications online, to storing related paperwork in the cloud, GovPilot government management software can streamline your processes and generate you more funds.

To learn more about how GovPilot can make your digital transformation easy and effective, book a free demo. 

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Government Fee & Fine FAQs

What Are Government Fees?

A government fee is revenue generated as part of the process of working with a local government service. When constituents or businesses are applying for various types of permits (parking, construction, etc,) licenses (pet, business, etc,) or document requests (court documents, open public records, Freedom of Information Act documents, etc,) they’re typically expected to pay a service fee. 

What Are Government Fines?

Government fines are tickets and fees issued when people violate local code enforcement policies and negatively impact the local quality of life. Is a person parking illegally and blocking a constituent’s driveway? Parking fines are standard procedure. Issues with a barking dog waking up the neighbors early in the morning. Enforcing the ordinances will encourage the guilty party to bring their dog inside when it starts barking.

Fines are known to generate revenue for the local government while simultaneously enforcing local policies and improving the local quality of life. 

How Does Government Tech Help with Procurement?

From collecting fees and fines to allocating the generated revenue, digital government systems like GovPilot make it easy to track where money is coming in and going out, and provide real-time financial data on things like asset management, contractor spending, and general budgeting needs. 

Learn more in our guide: What to Look for in Local Government Procurement Software? 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Constituent Experience, Digital Transformation, Blog