City of Ann Arbor honored for its leadership in technology
Ann Arbor earns awards from the State of Michigan and e.Republic and is named to "Best Digital City" listBy Patty Giorgio, January 2010
The City of Ann Arbor has been receiving attention and praise over the past few months for its innovative use of technology. The city received awards from both the State of Michigan and e.Republic's Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities magazine.
Michigan Excellence in Technology AwardIn October, 2009 the City of Ann Arbor was recognized for its outstanding achievements in information technology by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. This is the seventh year for the Michigan Excellence in Technology Award. The awards started in 2003 with the first Michigan Digital Government Summit. The Michigan Excellence in Technology Award, is being given in an effort to recognize outstanding achievement in state and local government technology across Michigan. The City was recognized in three categories:
The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County have a long history of collaboration in the area of information technology. The city is connected to the MeritFiber network and receives network and Internet access through a collaboration arrangement with Washtenaw County and Merit Network. Washtenaw County has been a Merit Member since September, 1996.
- Demonstrated Leadership in Management of Information Technology. Dan Rainey, Director of Information Technology was the recipient of this year's Leadership Award for demonstrating vision, leadership and support of IT throughout the City of Ann Arbor.
- Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations: Data Center Consolidation, Washtenaw County/City of Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Support Services Infrastructure and Planning and the City of Ann Arbor Information and Technology Service Unit consolidated their data centers into one comprehensive data center, to support the data center technology and operations of both organizations. The data center is hosted by the city and is connected by fiber to Merit's backbone network. The consolidation occurred for several reasons:
- Washtenaw County faced structural, electrical and cooling deficiencies in their existing IT data center.
- Costs associated with retrofitting the existing county IT space or building a new county IT data center, were prohibitive.
- Consolidation of the IT data centers provided an opportunity to position both organizations to reduce IT operational costs and improve service delivery.
- Most Innovative Use of Technology: The city's Petitions under Review application, available on its website, was the creative, unique and resourceful use of technology needed to win in this category. Residents can keep current on information regarding petitions that are under review in a number of methods. Information can be viewed on a Microsoft or Google map or residents can receive updates on petitions via RSS or email.
Top Digital CitiesThe City of Ann Arbor was also recognized for the second straight year for its use of technology to create a seamless environment between local government and citizens by e.Republic's Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities magazine. The city moved up in the annual Digital Cities Survey rankings and was recognized as the No. 5 Best Digital City in the country in its population category (75,000 to 124,999). The City of Ann Arbor is the only city in Michigan to be honored this year.
Winning ServicesThe city of Ann Arbor provides many online tools to its citizens. Some of the online resources that helped Ann Arbor to earn the No. 5 ranking and improve service efficiencies and access to information included:
"This year's winners demonstrate how cities have faced economic challenges with creativity and innovation in the use of information technology," said Cathilea Robinett, executive director for the Center for Digital Government. "The Survey clearly shows that cities place a high value on positive experiences for their constituents when using government services. These winners are at the leading edge of the future in digital advances for citizens."
- Citizen Request System: This is an online resource for submitting non-emergency service requests to the city, for parks maintenance, pot hole and street repair, water system issues, as well as other requests.
- GIS Resources: Offers a variety of maps including zoning, voting districts, historic districts, subdivisions, city parks and details of park capital improvement projects.
- GovDelivery E-mail Notifications: Offers web visitors the opportunity to subscribe to more than 40 pages within the city's website, including road or lane closures, news and much more. Subscribers then receive e-mail notifications when new information, related to the pages for which they subscribed, is available.
- My Property Information: This resource will validate if an address is within Ann Arbor city limits and provides mailing, voting, solid waste pickup and water consumption information related to the address. This application also provides information on the property's solar energy potential and maps the property's impervious areas for storm water management.
- eTRAKiT: A new online permitting and development review and inspection website which allows 24/7 access to inspection results, the ability to look up permits online, check registration with the city or schedule inspections.
About the Survey
The Digital Cities Survey is open to all U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more and respondent cities are classified into four size-based categories. The Center for Digital Government 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., the nation's leading publishing, research, event and new media company focused on state and local government and education markets
About Ann ArborThe city of Ann Arbor is located in Southeast Michigan and is home to more than 114,000 residents, living within the cities 27 square miles. The city boasts five colleges and universities, including the esteemed University of Michigan. A bustling downtown and charming tree-lined neighborhoods make Ann Arbor a safe and ideal place to live, learn, work and raise a family. The city is a Merit Member under Washtenaw County.
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