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News Release    

October 23, 2003


Dutchess County Launches New Innovative Web Site

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today the launching of Dutchess County Online (www.dutchessny.gov), the redesigned and greatly expanded official web site of Dutchess County Government. The new site not only focuses on County Government services, but is also designed as a “portal” to other web sites of interest to the public, including local Municipalities, Businesses, Schools, Community, Tourism/Recreation, Elected Officials, and State/Federal Government.

In announcing the new web site, the County Executive stated, “I’m excited about Dutchess County Online and its importance to the County and our residents. This is a huge step forward for us - as it will be an integral part of our effort to improve and expand Internet-based services to our citizens, businesses and local governments.”  Mr. Steinhaus added, “This effort is particularly satisfying because it was designed and developed entirely by County Staff.” The web site design and development was done by our Office of Computer Information Services (OCIS) with assistance from our Planning Department.”

Dutchess County Online has more than 1500 pages of useful services and many innovative features such as GEOACCESS, the web site’s new Interactive mapping facility. Below is an overview of some of the enhancements that the County has made to its web site.

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New Look and Feel – The Public will immediately notice that the web site has been redesigned from the ground up. One of the County’s goals was to “warm up” and enhance the site to better reflect the beauty of our area and its many facets. Some of the changes include a new color scheme, easier site navigation, consistent layout throughout the site, and more photos, including those of department heads, so that residents can associate a face with the agencies that are providing services to them.

Reorganization by Area and Service - The web site’s reorganization is one of the most important changes. The new site is reorganized by Service Area rather than only by County Department. This will make it easier for the public to locate County services.

A Start to eGovernment Services – The County has begun its focus on providing online services to the public. This goes well beyond just including “information” about County departments on the web site. As a start, the web site includes automated bidding functions, recruitment/exams, and lots of County forms as well as links to web sites containing State and Federal forms. The forms can be filled out when it’s convenient for people rather than them having to drive to County offices during their busy day. The County has more eGovernment services planned; currently under development is a County Parks Reservation System that will be available early in 2004.

More Departments Online - In an effort to provide a better understanding of the County’s services and missions, all County departments are now represented on the web site. In 2004, work will begin to expand online services for departments that directly service the public.

Keeping Residents better informed - It’s important for Government to keep citizens informed. One of our primary goals for the web site is do just that. The County has taken its schedules of events and news releases from various departments and combined them into one area for easy access.

Promoting County Tourism - Dutchess County has an abundance of places to go and sites to see. Now you can find them at the touch of a button. A focus of the web site is to promote our historic sites, museums, cultural arts and recreational facilities. There is an entire section devoted to Tourism/Recreation as well as a Photo Gallery that highlights area attractions and our communities. Of course there are links to the Dutchess Tourism web site that provides details about a broad range of Tourist activities.

GEOACCESS a unique map-based service was developed by the Office of Computer Information Systems as an integral part of the new County Web Site. This service can be used to locate an array of sites, physical features and boundaries throughout the County, such as government offices, school districts, political boundaries, libraries, hospitals, “Senior Friendship Centers,” nursing homes, historic sites and museums, recreation areas, and much more. After identifying a location, the map displays a related web site or web page that gives the visitor further information. GEOACCESS allows the user to view any combination of site categories and physical features at the same time by opening or closing map “layers” at will. So it’s a great tool for research. What makes GEOACCESS so unique is that this map-based service is integrated throughout the entire web site, rather than having a separate, standalone mapping facility. Whenever the map button on a web page is displayed, it can be clicked to locate that physical site or a group of related sites on an interactive County Map.

The new Web Site is a big part of the direction of our future; it illustrates the County’s commitment to eGovernment. What you see on our web site is just a start to our move to eGovernment. Our ultimate goal is to provide a broad range of on-line services, 24 hours a day, regardless if our offices are open or closed,” concluded Steinhaus.

For more information about the County Web Site contact the Commissioner at the Dutchess County Office of Computer Information Services (OCIS) at 486-2450, Monday — Friday, 9:00 am — 5:00 pm.  


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