The Georgia Municipal Association recently hired Montreal-based CGI Group Inc. to conduct a pilot project with Statesboro to provide online governmental services to its residents that eventually will be adapted by other cities among its members, according to John Restivo, director of information technology for the association.

Mr. Restivo told GlobalFax in an interview that CGI was chosen because of its price competitiveness, its history of financial stability and its longevity. Founded in 1976, CGI is Canada?s largest information technology company and has had an office in Norcross since 1997.

“We would have liked to hire a Georgia company, but we needed to find a company with a long-term track record and financial stability,” he said.

Mr. Restivo also said that other cities among the association?s 500 members would be encouraged to engage the company?s services. GGI Group will enable Statesboro residents to pay for basic government such as paying utility bills, property taxes and municipal fines online as well as business services such as applications for licenses and building permits.

He said that the company has been successful in getting contracts with communities such as Statesboro that has a population of 22,000, as well as with smaller communities of less than 10,000 people, because it is able to negotiate attractive pricing.

“No other company was able to come close in price,” he said.

Jim Higdon, the association?s executive director, signed the agreement last week in Atlanta. The signing coincided with the visit to Atlanta of a trade mission from the Canadian province of New Brunswick led by Premier Bernard Lord.

CGI Group built the original system for the New Brunswick government and the province now is the system?s sole marketer worldwide. In New Brunswick, the company also provides distance learning and tele-medicine services on line.

Statesboro?s city manager, George Wood, said a review team witnessed the CGI Group system?s capabilities at a seminar held last July in Macon. He added that the system could be installed quickly and was cost effective per transaction. He also said that the system?s track record elsewhere was impressive.

For more information, call Mr. Restivo at (678) 686-6249.