(LaPorte, IN)- LaPorte residents will be able to drive up to City Hall and pay their water bills inside vacuum drawn tubes.
Clerk-Treasurer Courtney Parthun said the drive up service is another way of keeping people during the pandemic safe especially once City Hall at some point reopens to the public.
“It will minimize foot traffic,” she said.
Parthun said the $35,000 cost of the system like the ones used at banks will be covered by federal COVID-19 relief dollars.
A drive up lane will be created on the east side of the building.
People during normal business hours can place their water bill payments inside a tube and speak to a city employee whose face will appear on a monitor.
The worker on the inside will receive the tube delivered back and forth in a vacuum line.
Parthun said the service can also be used for things like exchanging city documents requiring a signature.
She hopes the system is up and running by no later than October.
The city is also upgrading its digital system for making utility bill payments online easier.
A push button option of paying bills on the phone around round the clock is being added.
Payment drop boxes outside City Hall will be made larger and more secure.
Parthun said City Hall will reopen by appointment only at first but when is not known given all of the uncertainty with the virus.
In the meantime, “we’ve had to look at different ways to conduct business,” she said.