At Your eCounty Service

William Prather, Peoria County Board

Peoria County is one of the top 10 digital counties in the nation, according to an annual survey released several weeks ago by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Thousands of U.S. counties were invited to participate in the 2008 Digital Counties survey. Peoria County officials responded to questions that included more than 100 measurements and data points about our online service delivery, infrastructure, architecture and governance needs.

To recognize the successful entry and hard work and innovation of our IT services department, Peoria County was honored at a ceremony at the NACo’s national conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in mid-July. In our debut year, Peoria County ranked seventh on the top-10 list for counties in the 150,000-to-249,999 population category.

The residents of Peoria County have come to expect their government operations to reflect and support their on-demand lives. We have steadily invested in technology to help meet the needs of our constituents, and it’s gratifying that the Center for Digital Government and NACo have validated this effort and the progress our eCounty initiative has made.

The county’s award-winning eCounty program has been successful in creating a dynamic, useful website that offers access to government information and operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents, businesses and government agencies can take advantage of an expanding variety of online resources to make inquiries; pay taxes, court fees and traffic fines; locate facilities; subscribe to board meeting podcasts; and seek property information.

While the Center for Digital Government acknowledged excellence in several areas, three major areas of enhancement over the last year helped position Peoria County for this award. First, the web portal was expanded to include all departments, the most recent addition being Emergency Management Administration. With this enhancement, departments can quickly and easily update information germane to their department. Second, increased business-to-business offerings expand the capabilities of other governmental agencies and businesses working directly with the County. B2B enhancements include custom data reporting, access to the recorder of deeds system, civil papers, open traffic tickets for arresting agencies and property data transfer for government agencies. Third, constituent communications were improved. Both audio and video podcasts of county board meetings are available on the county’s website and iTunes store. Constituents may also now subscribe to feeds for news and career information.

To be acknowledged with a number-seven ranking in the nation is a huge accomplishment, and Peoria County’s IT department and the leadership shown by the County Board in this area is worth noting. The County’s website is www.peoriacounty.org. iBi

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