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In the News: Williamsburg Wins a Top Digital City Award

CITY OF WILLIAMSBURG: CITY NEWS--The Center for Digital Government (CDG) has announced the winners of its 2013 Digital Cities Survey, and Williamsburg, Virginia placed 9th in the top ten cities of populations less than 75,000. The annual survey is in its 13th year of showcasing top practices in public-sector information and communication technology. Williamsburg, with a population of approximately 14,000, was selected in its first year of eligibility. In previous years (2001-2012), only U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more were considered.

 “Every year, cities have been recognized for the same activities that Williamsburg has been doing for years, but we weren’t allowed to compete with the big localities,” said Mark Barham, the City’s Director of Information Technology. “Each year I’d approach CDG for the opportunity to throw our hat in the ring, so this is especially gratifying that first time out, they’ve recognized the extent of our innovative and creative initiatives.”

Many factors play into the judging process, including progress on information and communication technology practices made over the past year, return on investment, and a city’s demonstrated ability to innovate and leverage creative practices. The survey is coordinated by the Center for Digital Government (CDG), which is a division of e.Republic, also the parent company of Government Technology. The survey was underwritten by Accela, AT&T and NIC.

Todd Sander, executive director for the CDG, said he noticed an increase in the number of tech-savvy digital cities this year, particularly among larger jurisdictions.

“Cities that are investing in technology are seeing huge cost savings that are critical to operations and their ability to meet higher demand for services,” Sander said. “These cities are true innovators and we applaud them as they work in the spirit of collaboration to provide extraordinary value to constituents, despite budget setbacks.”

Priority was given to open government initiatives that promoted transparency and open data, mobility, finance management, staffing, connectivity, cybersecurity, shared services, cloud computing, disaster recovery and the use of virtualization techniques.

Williamsburg was cited for its use of communication technology for transparency, council goal setting, e-Government, Performance Management System Dashboards, social media, Green City initiatives, City-WiFi expansion, mobile apps and data management.

“Information technology helps the City connect with citizens to improve service delivery and operational performance,” said City Manager Jackson Tuttle. “We have a three-person IT department, but what we may lack in numbers of personnel or size of budgets, our staff makes up for with creativity and hard work.”

Ten finalists were chosen in four separate population categories. Winners were Boston (cities with residents of 250,000 or more); Irving, Texas (cities with between 125,000 and 249,999 residents); Avondale, Arizona (cities with populations from 75,000 to 124,999); and Palo Alto, California (cities of less than 75,000), the category in which Williamsburg placed 9th. For a complete list of winners, visit the CDG website.

Less than 75,000 population category:
1st — Palo Alto, Calif.
2nd — Fayetteville, Ark.
3rd — Carson City, Nev.
4th — Marana, Ariz.
5th — Ponca City, Okla.
6th — Rancho Cordova, Calif.
6th — Shawnee, Kan.
7th — Auburn, Wash.
7th — Schaumburg, Ill.
8th — Hudson, Ohio
9th — Williamsburg, Va.
9th — Enfield, Conn.
10th — North Port, Fla.

Selected List of Communication Technology Initiatives and Recognitions by the City of Williamsburg

The International City-County Management Association (ICMA) recognized the City of Williamsburg for superior performance efforts with a Certificate of Excellence from the ICMA Center for Performance Measurement TM (CPM), the highest level of recognition

Upgraded the City’s streaming video capability to improve citizen engagement with live and archived video of meetings, agendas integrated with the video and better searchability

Launched the City411 mobile app to report service issues.

Launched web-based Public Dashboards that graphically display real time data on the City’s performance across all operations.

The Dashboards are both integrated with and an extension of the City’s Performance Management System, which received a 2010 Governor’s Technology Award as a driver for innovation and increased efficiency.

The City created a mobile-optimized version of the website which is easier to read and navigate on the smaller screen.

The City also launched a CITY411 text messaging service to report service needs and receive emergency updates through their text-enabled cell phone.

The City launched a twitter feed, @WilliamsburgGov and Youtube channel, /WilliamsburgGov

2008: Launched Facebook page (Williamsburg.Virginia) and Launched online OpenForum for citizens to provide input on a variety of issues, including the Budget and Goals-setting process for the City (In 2010 it was integrated with the City’s facebook and twitter feeds)

(The original news article can be viewed here.)

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