ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – For the fourth year in a row, the City of Ann Arbor has been recognized by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities magazine (www.digitalcommunities.com/survey/cities) for its use of technology to create a seamless environment between local government and citizens.
The annual survey focused on results achieved by cities, via the use of technology, in operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives despite current fiscal constraints. The City of Ann Arbor is listed at No. 5 in the 2011 Digital Cities Survey rankings (in the 75,000 to 124,999 population category).
The City of Ann Arbor’s website, www.a2gov.org, features a variety of online resources that aim to improve service efficiencies and access to information including:
* Online Permitting for High Volume Customers: The city worked closely with DTE Energy to develop an online intake process for right-of-way permits using the city’s public facing permitting site, Etrakit. In addition to reducing the processing time, the city transformed the once paper-based process to one that is purely electronic. Over the next year, the city plans to roll out the online permitting process for other permit types.
* A2 OpenBook: A2 OpenBook is an online tool designed to disclose all City of Ann Arbor expenses in a transparent, simple and easy-to-use format.
* A2 Performance Dashboard: The performance dashboard, in conjunction with the city’s Citizen Guide to Finance and Budget, fulfills the first requirement of accountability and transparency introduced under the State of Michigan’s Economic Vitality Incentive Program. The city is providing statistics regarding fiscal stability, economic strength, public safety and quality of life for all citizens to view.
Other key initiatives delivered this year include:
* Interagency Technology Collaborations: The city worked with Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to develop a framework for interagency technology collaboration. To date, the agencies, combined, have recognized more than $3 million in cost avoidance by sharing data centers, hardware, enterprise software, and services.
The survey is open to all U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more and are classified into four population size-based categories. The Center for Digital Government (www.centerdigitalgov.com) is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, Inc. (www.erepublic.com), a national publishing, event and research company focused on information technology in the public sector. To learn more about the 2011 Digital Cities Survey and winners, visit www.digitalcommunities.com/survey/cities.