Dutchess County Government is the number one ranked mid-size county government for its use of technology to improve services and boost efficiencies to better serve residents in the 2018 Digital Counties Survey. This is the 15th Anniversary of the annual survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Dutchess County has been ranked in the top ten among the nation’s best all 15 years of the Digital Counties survey in the 250,000-499,999 population category and this is the second time Dutchess County has earned the number one national ranking.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “This recognition of our County’s Office of Central and Information Services (OCIS), led by Commissioner Glenn Marchi, clearly demonstrates our commitment to maximizing our residents’ and visitors’ digital experience and how we have made ourselves a leader in these efforts. We continue to ensure our services and resources are transparent, engaging, efficient, secure and innovative while also putting high priority on cost savings for our municipal partners and taxpayers.”
Below are some of the County’s initiatives highlighted in the various Digital Counties Survey categories:
Open (Transparency, Open Data, Data Governance)
- Dutchess County has upgraded features and functionality of its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) platform, which offers direct access to historical and current documents in its geographical and aerial photography databases. For example, users can search property boundaries, water access lines and other information in the Parcel Access database or use the historic aerial photos database to compare regional infrastructure development over time.
- Dutchess County continues to enhance its presentation of budget information to the public, with content offering a big picture perspective on the County’s financial condition through budget video presentations, Budget-in-Brief documents, and detailed graphs and departmental line-item budgets. Additionally, its Dutchess Dashboard is a “one-stop information source” for the public to monitor the key economic and service indicators impacting programs and services.
- Streamlined and enhanced information to the public through the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system including direct access to County documents and data such as Legislative Resolutions, County Clerk Documents, Ancient Documents, and Class Specifications/Job Descriptions Search feature as well as streamlining the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) process for the public.
Citizen-Centric (Government Experience: Mobile, Engaged, Digital Services)
- The Dutchess County Government website, dutchessny.gov, is being completely redesigned using innovative technology design and interface, with a focus on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, Plain Language usage, mobile responsiveness, ease of use, and speed as well as integrating cloud-based features such as Cludo, a search engine, and ReciteMe, an ADA compliant accessibility application.
- Mobile applications, including Dutchess County HELPLINE for suicide prevention and mental health assistance as well as Dutchess Tracker that provides real-time Dutchess County Public Transit information, are available for residents to download to their mobile devices.
- Voice navigation and the County’s newsfeed headlines are readable by smart speakers and virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Echo and Alexa.
- Dutchess County Government is active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to inform and engage residents. Social media is a major component of the County’s transparency strategy covering legislative meetings, community events, and budget presentations.
- The County’s Dutchess Delivery service allows residents to subscribe to more than 60 topic areas. Updates are automatically distributed to subscribers via email or in some instances, text message. Several municipalities have incorporated a shared services offering of Dutchess Delivery including Beacon Delivery and East Fishkill Delivery. Also, Dutchess Direct allows citizens to ask questions and make requests online.
- Various departments offer self-service kiosks and/or digital signage to help residents obtain information on services or resources such as open exams, new initiatives, archived records, and more.
Collaborative (Shared Services/Collaborative Initiatives)
- OCIS plans and coordinates the annual Shared Services Summit bringing together state, county and local officials to discuss and brainstorm shared services opportunities. Additionally, through its Municipal Innovation Grant Program, Dutchess County has incentivized the implementation of more shared services. Over the past five years, the County has awarded more than $7.6 million to 60 projects.
- The County has partnered with the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department to use the County’s new public safety system. This new system, which successfully launched in June, leveraged the County’s infrastructure and multi-jurisdictional software license to reduce costs for both the County and the Town with a savings of more than $500,000 for the Town of Poughkeepsie.
- The County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative has gained statewide support, with more than 100 towns, cities and villages throughout New York adopting ThinkDIFFERENTLY resolutions. In February, the County launched its ThinkDIFFERENTLY.net website to offer simple navigation through the comprehensive array of local services available to residents with special needs and their families.
Secure (Cybersecurity Measures/ Initiatives)
- Dutchess County Government continues to improve its cybersecurity measures through improved firewall protections and logging efforts, antivirus software, email encryption updates, and cyber insurance to protect against Internet-based risks and those relating to IT infrastructure and activities.
- The County is extending its web security policy to satellite locations to provide robust, scalable, and cost effective security services to its partners as well as utilizing a government cloud-based service that comes with a suite of security protocols.
OCIS Commissioner Glenn Marchi, Ph.D., said, “The Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Services team strives to foster a vibrant economic environment through the innovative technology and information services it provides to both residents and County departments. We will continue to be exemplary stewards of the public’s trust and resources by seeking new shared services and cost saving opportunities.”
“Effective technology has proven to be a key tool for efficiency in many facets of county government,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for showcasing the value of innovation and adaptation. Their embrace of cutting-edge approaches has benefited residents while ensuring good stewardship of taxpayer resources.”
Learn more about the Digital Counties Survey.