Soon, Jim Thorpe residents will be able to pay their municipal obligations electronically.

At Thursday night's borough council meeting a motion was passed, pending the review of Solicitor James R. Nanovic to enable the borough to accept credit and debit card payments for municipal services. According to borough manager Wesley A. Johnson the electronic payment service will begin with water, sewer and garbage but he sees it growing to incorporate more utilities.

This debit and credit card payment option is a cash management tool offered by the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust, or PLGIT, as council members refer to it.

This payment method offers benefits to both residents and the borough. Risk of loss is reduced and there are transaction efficiencies on both sides. Because transactions are processed and approved electronically there is less room for human error and transaction time is decreased, allowing for funds to be available to the borough more quickly than funds from cash or check.

Johnson also mentioned another benefit to residents: "It provides an additional opportunity for folks to pay at home."

More and more people are replacing cash transactions with credit or debit transactions even for everyday items, and convenience is often the main factor.

PLGIT offers a number of services to municipalities including free checking, direct deposit for state and federal subsidies and payment programs. They also offer programs that allow local governments to borrow long term bonds for capital improvements at low interest rates.

PLGIT began in 1981 and is currently made up of more than 2,600 local governments and school districts.

The credit and debit card payment option is expected to have a one time set up fee of $30 per account and a convenience fee for every transaction, with an upper limit of 2.45 percent. Under this program PLGIT enables municipalities to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and MAC (debit) cards. Residents should have access to the electronic payment method within the next three to four weeks. A link will be available on the borough website as the new service is implemented.