The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Monday, July 23, 2012
Franklin County has once again achieved a top 10 national placement in the annual Digital Counties Survey for communities with a population less than 150,000.
The county, at a population of roughly 56,000, competes with counties three times its size and often competes with fewer resources.
This year, the county placed eighth in the annual ranking, which recognizes leading examples of counties using information and communications technology.
"To achieve and maintain a top 10 national ranking for four consecutive years in a population bracket that includes much larger counties with greater resources to draw upon speaks volumes about Franklin County's technology efforts to serve our citizens" said Rick Huff, county administrator.
National rankings are issued by the e.Republic's Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities program in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), which identifies the best electronic practices among counties nationwide.
"This year, counties are focused on saving money where they can be simplifying their information technology infrastructure," Digital Communities Director Todd Sander said. "Many of them have found ways to provide better information security, transparency and citizen engagement with innovative uses of social media and advanced decision support tools."
"Counties across the country are aligning technology initiatives to support strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies," said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. "The Digital Counties Survey identifies best practices and innovative uses of technology critical with today's constrained budgets to maintaining and even improving service levels."
The 2012 survey evaluated the use of technology across several functional areas of local government.
Franklin County highlighted much of its recent and current work with e-Government services, including the launch of an enhanced budget website portal.
While the county has long posted its budgets and financial reports online, the new budget portal synchronizes multiple budget items into one central location.
The interactive budget portal allows residents to stay connected with the county budget through social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Current county e-Government services include enhanced transactions to allow citizens the option of making credit/debit payments for various services.
Some services, such as parks and recreation registrations and building permits, can already be processed online. The county also has worked to implement rigorous P.C.I. (Payment Card Industry) security standards among its communication networks, work stations and employees.
Another technology highlight is the use of business intelligence software or a "dashboard," which provides the county's finance and administration departments with the ability to track county revenues in real time as collections and investments are posted.
Other initiatives have included an issue-tracking system to pursue customer complaints and a Citizens Alerting System that provides public safety with a tool to immediately alert citizens of a pending emergency in a specific area or neighborhood by simultaneously calling residences and mobile phones.
Franklin County initially achieved a place in the top 10 Digital Counties Survey in 2009.
The 2012 top 5 winners in the less than 150,000 population were:
•1st Charles County, MD
•2nd Nevada County, CA
•3rd Roanoke County, VA
•4th County of Allegan, MI
•5th Napa County, CA
For more information and details, visit: http://www.franklincountyva.org.