County Wins Award for Government on the Web

By Kameel Stanley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Loudoun County's Web site might not be the sexiest in the world, but when compared with other local governments', it's near the top.

The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties ranked Loudoun as the No. 1 information technology innovator among counties with populations of 250,000 to 499,999.

"It's a very competitive award," said Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), who accepted the award at a ceremony last week. "People really fight to be number one."

Loudoun has made the list before but never the top spot.

The competition evaluates jurisdictions using about 100 benchmarks, including the way they use technology, their Web sites, and their planning and organization.

Loudoun's strategy has been to concentrate on function rather than flashy graphics, said Jim Barnes, the county's director of public information.

"Our focus has always been usability rather than something to knock a person's socks off," he said.

The site features land databases, webcasts of government meetings, photos of animals available for adoption and an alert system.

Recently, residents gained access to online bidding for the surplus store and a system that allows job applicants to create profiles.

This latest recognition adds to the momentum built during the past decade, Barnes said.

Gene Troxell, information technology director, said the county has several initiatives to make its Web site more interactive.

Officials are working to mobilize building inspectors to wirelessly transmit inspection reports. There also is talk of allowing building permit requests to be submitted online.

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