As anyone on GovLoop can easily see, many of you are doing some very cool things to help improve government at every level. But, let’s face it, it’s not always easy. Whether it’s a lack of resources or red tape, implementing innovation in government is tough at all levels, and, in my opinion, especially tough at the local level. Because of this, most local governments are not exactly blazing trails when it comes to adopting and utilizing new Web technology.
My day job requires me to research municipalities, so I’m constantly browsing websites of municipalities all across the country. And, believe me, for the most part, it’s not pretty. Design aspects aside, online services available to residents are very limited.
While brainstorming an idea for this “project of the week” I came across one of the best local government websites I have ever seen, and, of course, I found it via GovLoop. It gave me the idea to highlight them as an example of what Gov 2.0 can be at the local government level.
After spending just a few minutes on the City of Newport News, Virginia’s website, you quickly conclude they get Gov 2.0. Their website should be the model for local government 2.0!
The sheer number of online services available to their residents is amazing, but it doesn’t stop there. They also offer government to government services which won them the 2008 Digital Government Achievement Award by the Center for Digital Government in the government to government category. Through their Open eGov (see pdf) program, they are “creating a collaborative software ecosystem, where government organizations, non-profits and the private sector work together to share the cost of enhanced capabilities.”
On nngov.com, you can:
-pay your property taxes online
-pay your parking ticket online
-apply for a job via their LINC portal
–borrow an e-book
-renew a library book
-browse a highly interactive GIS map
-pay your water bill online
-access your water account
-report problems and complaints online
–watch live and on-demand videos of meetings and other events
-watch their local access channel live online
-subscribe to RSS feeds for agendas, minutes, and video podcasts
…and much more.
Congratulations to them for implementing such a fantastic website that undoubtedly provides increased efficiency and reduced costs while providing their citizens with outstanding service.
Use of Social Media in Local Government
I’m sure you’ve all read enough about how social media in government by now. So I will not bore you with yet another article/blog post about the topic.
Here are some great resources on the topic of SocMed as it relates to Local Government:
A quick look at Steve Lunceford’s GovTwit directory and you can see how many government entities at all levels are using Twitter, whether it’s to announce upcoming meetings, provide updates on community events (rained out, cancelled, etc), report police and fire calls, etc.
In my opinion, the best resource I’ve found for information regarding local government’s use of web 2.0 is MuniGov 2.0 created by GovLooper Bill Greeves who also created the MuniGov 2.0 group on GovLoop.
What does your town having going on online? I’d love to hear about it. For a future project, I’d like to key on a specific case of how Gov 2.0 has significantly cut overhead and improved efficiency.