The state of Connecticut’s official website ct.gov is about to get a makeover and state officials say it will increase its functionality and usability.
“The state’s official website was created almost 20 years ago,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said last week. “Since that time, many best practices have been established and new technologies that dramatically increase usability have been created. By utilizing this self-funded plan, we are going to modernize the way state government interacts with its citizens and put a process in place that will ensure the state’s online presence continues to keep up with technological advances.”
NIC USA Inc. of Kansas was awarded the $2.5 million, three-year contract on Jan. 10.
The contract is being described by the administration as “public-private partnership” that “allows the portal to be developed and operated without tax dollars.” Under the agreement, the state will continue to accept the statutory fees for various services, but it will allow the contractor to charge an “enhanced fee” when it comes to bulk purchases of government information, such as motor vehicle driver histories.
Lawmakers passed legislation last year that made it possible for a company like NIC USA Inc. to get paid through fees it collects from businesses that purchase data from the state in bulk. However, it also added some checks and balances by making sure the state maintained control over any “enhanced fees” a contractor collects.
All of the fees must first be approved by the Finance Advisory Committee, which includes members of the executive and legislative branches. The legislation also calls for the services to be provided by non-electronic means so that people will still have an opportunity to pay the fee without the increased “e-service” convenience fee.
One of NIC USA Inc.’s responsibilities, aside from revamping the state’s home page, will be to launch a new Connecticut Business Portal that consolidates the various business-related solutions provided by different state agencies.
“This agreement increases our focus on the businesses and citizens of the state, making it possible to conveniently do business with the state on whatever device you have and at whatever time of day you wish,” Mark Raymond, the state’s Chief Information Officer, said.
Launch of the project will occur in stages throughout the year, but the business portal maintained by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office will be a top priority, according to the press release.
“There is a wealth of important public information housed in many different state agencies,” Merrill said. “Anything we can do to centralize the information we have in state government and make it more accessible online to the public, and more importantly to the entrepreneurs who start businesses and create jobs in Connecticut, is something we should all support.”
According to a press release, NIC USA Inc. will open an office in Hartford and expects to hire 10 to 12 technology, marketing, and project management professionals.
The company currently works with 29 states and more than 3,500 federal, state, and local government agencies, according to its website.
In 2012, NIC made Forbes’ list of the “25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies in America.” That year it processed $22.5 billion in payments and generated $211 million in revenues.