The progress and ingenuity of Richland County’s Information Technology Department was recently recognized with two top awards – one for an innovative new tax-paying system, the other for a highly-valued member of its team.
Government Management Information Sciences (GMIS), an association of worldwide government IT leaders, held its annual conference in Savannah, Ga., this week, where Joe Hallbick, Senior Application Support Analyst for Richland County, was presented with the Outstanding Professional of the Year Award.
Hallbick was nominated for his “body of work, attitude and professionalism during his 25 years at Richland County.” Most notably, Hallbick has supported the County’s court systems and led the way when a new software program was implemented throughout the state. Because of his knowledge and skills, the South Carolina Judicial Department requested Hallbick to assist the state’s courts in using the new system.
“It was an honor to receive the 2014 GMIS Outstanding Professional of the Year Award and represent Richland County,” Hallbick said. “It’s been a pleasure working for Richland County and I thank Richland County for giving me the opportunity to do what I love.”
Mike Prince, Applications Manager, accepted the G2 Government-to-Citizen Award on behalf of a team of IT employees who created the County’s QR Code Tax Payments project.
“My name is on the award but it really belongs to the group in the department that did the real work to make this happen,” Prince said.
The program, which was created by Joe Hallbick, Glenn Heimburger, Adrian Mack, Eroca Head and Duane Fuller, lets County residents pay their property taxes using a mobile device to scan the QR code that the Auditor’s Office now prints on tax bills.
“It’s important for government offices to find ways to serve taxpayers using technology that taxpayers are accustomed to using with other financial transactions,” said Richland County Auditor Paul Brawley. “The county's IT Department allows Richland County to stay on the forefront of using technology to the advantage of our taxpayers.”
A goal of the program was to reduce the long line of residents that used to form outside the Treasurer’s Office prior to tax bill due dates.
“We initiated the program with Kendra Dove in our office asking IT to investigate the possibility of QR code payments, and our IT members were fantastic in putting it together,” said Richland County Treasurer David Adams. “It’s great when you have a team that can see the future needs of our citizens, and then have a technical team take that concept and make it a reality.”
The QR Code program went live in October. In the first few months, only a handful of payments were made, but now the Treasurer’s Office receives about 100 payments per month – since implementation, 712 tax payments and $201,577.42 were collected using the QR Code program.
GMIS annually presents its G2 Government-to-Citizen award to the agency that is a “shining example of how governments should be expanding their reach in their delivery of public services.”