The Town of Barrhead has launched a new “virtual town hall” that will allow residents to pay their utility bills, register for paperless invoices and tax notices, apply for a new pet or business license, and perform a variety of other tasks that you would normally have to visit the municipal office to complete.
Chief administrative officer Edward LeBlanc made reference to the launch of the virtual town hall during the Town of Barrhead council meeting on July 14.
The virtual town hall can be accessed through the Town of Barrhead website. In order to use the system, one has to register an account, create a username and password and provide an e-mail address.
Further details on how to register and then utilize the virtual town hall are contained in a communication package that went out last week with residents’ utility bills.
LeBlanc said he thought the new system was the wave of the future and that Barrhead residents would soon be embracing it.
“It’s a good system, and it just provides a better (and) faster service to our residents,” he said.
LeBlanc noted that credit for the rollout of the virtual town hall should go to director of corporate services Kathy Vickery and her staff, as well as their communications co-ordinator Jennifer Pederson for developing the communication package.
In an interview on July 17, Vickery noted that the town had implemented a new financial system last year, and the virtual town hall was the second phase of that project. The same company they hired to develop the financial system also created the virtual town hall.
Vickery said they were originally looking at rolling out the virtual town hall in the fall, noting that they wanted the launch to coincide with residents receiving their utility bills.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the Town of Barrhead was forced to close its office to the public in the spring, there was suddenly an impetus to get the virtual town hall available to the public a lot sooner.
Vickery said there was a lot of work involved in getting the virtual town hall up and running.
When asked about the public’s response to the new system, she said that about 27 residents had enrolled within the past three days.