Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Government has again been nationally recognized as one of the most digitally-advanced county governments in the nation announced Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus. Dutchess County captured the #5 ranking in the 250,000-499,999 population category in the 2010 Digital Counties Survey conducted by The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo). This is the seventh consecutive year the County has earned a top ten ranking (2004-2010).
“We have continued to enhance county services through technological innovation,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “By focusing on positive outcomes and benefits, we have achieved an impressive return on investment as we have used technology to cut costs and deliver more value for our residents.”
The 2010 Digital Counties Survey is an annual study by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo) which identifies best practices and recognizes those counties that provide exemplary electronic service to their public. Thousands of U.S. counties are invited to participate in the annual survey. This year, the survey focus was on the results achieved by county governments through the use of technology- in terms of both operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives, which has become even more critical as county governments across the nation deal with extreme fiscal challenges.
Digital Communities Director, Todd Sander, said, “The survey data we collected shows that counties of all sizes are rising to meet the current economic challenge. They are finding impressive new ways to use ICT to deliver affordable public service at the very time many people expect and need more from their government. Congratulations to all the winners!”
"Across America counties continue working to balance their local priorities with new responsibilities passed to them from the federal and state governments” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “The Digital Counties Survey identifies the very best examples of how counties are aligning technology to support strategic priorities and create crucial operational and administrative efficiencies.”
A few of the examples of the operational efficiencies in Dutchess County’s award winning application include:
- Department of Mental Hygiene’s (DMH) conversion from paper charts to electronic medical records. When the NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector General reviewed five years worth of Medicaid payments totaling $39 million, it found DMH to be in full compliance with billing rules and regulations and required no payback to the State, an impressive accomplishment considering counties across NYS have paid thousands of dollars in repayments.
- Successful electronic payments “pilot” that is being expanded to services areas such as Parks Reservations and County Clerk records, resulting in more cost efficient payment processing for the County and greater convenience for the public.
- A new website application allowed residents to register online for appointments at http://www.dutchessny.gov/ for the Department of Health’s 2009 H1N1 Influenza vaccine clinics, allowing the clinics to run more smoothly and save residents’ time.
- A Field Reporting application for Deputy Sheriffs mobile computer allows deputies to write reports and access the County’s integrated Public Safety System from their vehicles, allowing deputies to spend more time on patrol rather than in the office.
Dutchess County’s Office of Computer Information Systems (OCIS) work to offer a full spectrum of computer services, ranging from internal applications that add operational efficiencies to county departments to 24/7 on-line services to the public, has consistently earned Dutchess County’s a top ten ranking in this elite survey. In fact, Dutchess County is one of just two counties in 250,000 to 499,999 population category to place in the top ten ranking each of the past seven years.
While Dutchess County has continued to expand services to the public and increase employee productivity with innovative technology applications, OCIS has been able to streamline its expenses and operations. “Our OCIS team is smaller than it was in 1999,” said OCIS Commissioner Timothy Mahler. “I’m pleased that we have reduced budget costs more than 20% in the past 5 years and yet we have continued our ever expanding menu of services.”
County Executive Steinhaus added, “Dutchess County Government operates with fewer employees today than in 1987, more than 23 years ago. We have to work smarter and more productively by concentrating our technological investments on IT initiatives that support our County mission, respond to our changing program needs and deliver cost effectiveness for our property taxpayers. I want to thank our talented OCIS employees, led by Commissioner Mahler, as well as the numerous other county employees who helped make Dutchess County a national leader in technological innovation.”