Each year, e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program honors “Top U.S. Digital Cities,” which “successfully incorporate information technology into operations to better serve constituents and businesses,” according to the award's website. For the third year in a row, Ann Arbor, MI ranked in the top ten. Ann Arbor took sixth place amongst 13 cities with a population between 75,000 and 124,000 people that made the 2010 top ten list (there were a few ties this year). Ann Arbor tied with West Palm Beach, FL.
annarbor.com recently reported; “The City of Ann Arbor was recognized for several online initiatives,” which set the city apart. Some of the ways the local government is using the internet to serve constituents are listed in the article; “1) Launching an open data catalog; 2) Introducing online payment for water bills, which also allows residents to forgo paper bills by delivering electronic statements; 3) Using social networking, including Facebook, Twitter, Animoto and Foursquare; 4) Adding eTRAKiT, an online permitting and development records systems that includes planning and development information, inspection results, the ability to look up permits online and check registration with the city or schedule inspections,” according to the annarbor.com report.
Although municipal budgets are tight across the board, 2010’s recipients “continue to demonstrate the transformative power of information technology,” by budgeting in information technology, according to Director Todd Sander. “Economic conditions are bringing about a fundamental rethinking of local government structures and support strategies. It is clear from the results [of the "Digital Cities Survey"] that digital technology is a critical factor in helping organizations not only maintain, but actually improve service delivery when faced with fewer employees and smaller budgets.”
Read more of Sander’s thoughts about this year’s award recipients on the "Top U.S. Digital Cities" website or in an article released by Government Technology, an e-Republic publication.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info.