In San Antonio, Mall Kiosks Take Over From City Hall

A regular trip to the mall now serves many purposes - shopping and paying off parking fines and property taxes.

To better serve city residents, the city of San Antonio has put computerized kiosks in the city's busiest shopping malls. The ATM-type machines allow people to charge taxes, fines, and other city bills on credit cards. They also print applications for municipal jobs and perform other tasks that normally require a visit to city hall.

The Kiosk Project is part of the city's Community Link Project, which gives the public remote access to municipal resources and offices, says Linda Wasserman, a special projects officer for the city of San Antonio.

"Community Link arose out of city manager Alexander E. Briseno's goal to make city services more accessible and convenient," says Ms. Wasserman.

The project has two features, the kiosks and a Community Link service center where municipal-service specialists work in person with citizens.

"We still need to serve those with no credit cards or bank accounts and those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with using computers," Wasserman says. The service center sees about 250 people a week.

The program is proving such a success that the city plans to install another machine within the next 45 days.

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