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Government Websites in U.S. and Canada win Vision Internet's "What's Next" Awards for Digital Innovation

Baytown, Texas; Reno, Nevada; Chula Vista, California and Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Stand Out in Company's Annual Gov Website Competition

SANTA MONICA, Calif., (July 21, 2015) - Government website innovator Vision Internet today announced the winners of its 2015 "What's Next Awards" competition, which this year recognized four cities for excellence in online innovation, visual impact, citizen engagement and transparency.

The 2015 winners of Vision Internet's What's Next Awards are:

City of Baytown, Texas, baytown.org  – Online Innovation 
City of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, fortsask.ca – Visual Impact 
City of Reno, Nevada, reno.gov  – Citizen Engagement 
City of Chula Vista, California, chulavistaca.gov  – Transparency

"Municipal websites are helping local government officials increase efficiency and deliver greater value to their constituents," said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet's director of strategic initiatives. "These awards recognize forward-thinking municipalities that are using technology to serve, represent and delight their citizens."

Recognized for Online Innovation, the City of Baytown leveraged the flexibility of Vision Internet's content management system to centralize its application and permitting process, making it easier for residents to find, fill out and submit permits online. The online Permitting Center now houses the majority of the City's permits and applications and saves valuable time for both residents and city staff. A residential kiosk offers site visitors a visual representation of which permits they need.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan received the What's Next Visual Impact award for creating an inviting digital window that promotes area attractions to boost the local economy. To highlight the natural beauty of the community, the website homepage features locally sourced photographs. Four sets of seasonal photographs are updated throughout the year, keeping the website looking and feeling fresh. Community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, noting the beauty of the site and ease of navigation.

Actively engaging citizens online can bring huge dividends to local governments and their communities. For the second year in a row, the City of Reno won the What's Next Citizen Engagement award for using its website to provide a positive and productive online experience. The City's #thinkreno campaign elicited more than 1,000 ideas from citizens to help define a 25-year strategic vision for the city.

In the City of Chula Vista, city leaders have gone above and beyond to share important information with residents. Using its website, social media and other online tools to facilitate electoral redistricting earned Chula Vista a What's Next award for Transparency. The City's website helped the outreach team successfully communicate districting information, provide materials in five languages and facilitate community input. An interactive City Map now gives users the ability to zoom in on various locations within each proposed district. Four months after going live in February 2015, the City's new website reported approximately 5,500 unique visitors.

"Digital technology advances at lightning-fast speed," said Fruechting. "Our job as government website developers is to continue to look for what's next on the horizon to help local government anticipate and meet the changing needs and expectations of the people they serve."

For more information about Vision Internet's transformative government website technology, please call 888-263-8847 or visit  visioninternet.com/contact.

About Vision Internet

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Vision Internet is a national leader in government websites and software with more than 600 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. Over nearly 20 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites. Vision Internet's visionCMS™ is a powerful, easy to use content management system developed with input from hundreds of municipal clients.

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