CRESTVIEW — Residents and businesses will be able to pay utilities bills and fees online by summer's end, with assurance that the data will be backed up with increased security, city officials said.
A bill-payment conversion project that consultants recommended two years ago will make city records more secure. Departmental computers will back up the information to two secure out-of-town sites.
The conversion process should be complete by June 2, and the system will be able to accept electronic fund transfers after another 30 to 45 days, City Clerk Betsy Roy said.
That's encouraging because the city's current technology is outdated, Councilwoman Robyn Helt said.
"Our city is behind the times when it comes to accepting and processing payments," she said. "In some cities, citizens can pay using their smart phones."
Security and convenience
Backing up the city's information systems to an offsite secure location, or cloud, will make data more secure, Roy said. Backed-up data currently stored in city hall could be lost if the building caught fire or was damaged in a hurricane.
The company the city has contracted with will store the data domestically in Lake St. Mary and at a second back-up site in Georgia, Roy said.
Council President Shannon Hayes praised Roy and her staff for implementing the back-up plan and accepting online bill payments.
"It's a benefit to our citizens," he said. "I hate to write checks and I don't like to give anybody my credit card information."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated, "Crestview to accept online bill payments," which needed more clarity.