The two organizations recently announced the winners of the 15th annual Digital Counties Survey, and Ottawa County was named ninth in the nation compared to counties with populations from 250,000 to 499,000.
The survey identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage collaboration and shared services, enhance cyber security, and reduce carbon emissions.
“It is an honor to be recognized nationally,” Ottawa County spokeswoman Shannon Felgner said. “Offering a secure website robust in services is simply good customer service. Citizens can access permits, records and other needs 24/7 without leaving home. It is efficient for citizens and the county.
“By the close of business on June 30, Ottawa County topped the $10 million mark in total transactions conducted via its website,” she added. “Its first e-service was property tax searches, which began in December 2005.”
Residents can stay connected to the county, as well, with its online presence. The county added email subscription services in 2015 as a way to deliver information to residents, and, to date, 26,000 people are subscribed to receive county news via email.
Even with all the recognition, county officials say they aren’t content to just keep the status quo.
“We continue to grow our online services, increase transparency and work in creative ways using technology,” Felgner said. “Our website is always a work in progress. A new design with improved functionality and accessibility is scheduled in the coming months."
Other Michigan counties on the top 10 list in their population categories include Oakland, Jackson and Allegan.
“Digital counties are leveraging technology to improve the ways they conduct business and engage with citizens in increasingly innovative and exciting ways,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their work to reduce costs, encourage citizen engagement, increase efficiencies and proactively address citizen expectations.”