City’s new website serves as digital City Hall

Published on February 13, 2018

.jpg of the new website homepage

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids has launched a new website – grandrapidsmi.gov – that serves as a digital City Hall for residents, businesses and other community members. The website, which replaces grcity.us, provides information in both English and Spanish and offers online payment for 54 City services and 24 business licenses, among other features.

“Enabling digital self-service on our new website is the centerpiece of our customer service transformation,” Interim City Manager Eric DeLong said. “Our new site provides a digital City Hall that is open for business 24/7/365. That means our community can access City services and information on any device, on any browser, at any time, from any place.

“I am very proud of the team that delivered this unique breakthrough for our community, and I thank the mayor and city commissioners for this forward-thinking investment.”

The City’s web team – led by 311 Customer Service Director Becky Jo Glover – partnered with OpenCities, which works with governments across the globe to provide digital services, and local website designer Mighty in the Midwest to create the first true digital City Hall in the country.

“We developed this website through intentional community engagement,” Glover said. “We used feedback from a civic user test group to ensure our website met their needs and expectations. We redesigned the site based on our customers’ feedback and through the community sharing its preferences on how it wanted to conduct online transactions and receive information through services. The result is a true community-centric and customer-focused website.”

Other features of the new website include:

  • 236 services that comprise the top inquires to the City’s 311 Customer Service Center – 102 of these services were not available online in the past
  • 24 business license applications and renewals
  • GRPayIt, which launched online last August, allows citizens to pay bills, including water, trash, property tax and parking tickets with a single sign-on

“We have built the website with and by our community,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Our digital City Hall serves those who live, work and play here on their terms. This is an exciting chapter for Grand Rapids.”

GRPayIt is meeting the City’s projection of a 20 percent increase in electronic payments, Glover said. The system notifies customers when due dates are nearing for bills, which is decreasing the number of delinquent payments and late fees passed on to customers, she added.

Phase 2 of the website redesign will include adding services to the mobile application, enhancing the legislative module for City Commission meetings and agendas, and enhancing GRPayIt. The next phase of development will include adding miscellaneous accounts receivable services, other software upgrades and a payment system for Community Development Block Grant loans.

Here is an overview of the new website:

OpenCities is featuring Grand Rapids and its journey to develop a digital City Hall in a video – CoGR What Would Be Possible – Digital City Hall.