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Dutchess County AGAIN Ranked No. 1 in Nation for Innovative Technology Use

Published: 7/11/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie… For the second consecutive year, Dutchess County Government is ranked No. 1 in the nation for its use of technology to produce efficient services and better serve residents. Dutchess County is the top mid-sized county in the 250,000-499,999 population category of the 2019 Digital Counties Survey, the 17th year for 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 10 of the nation’s best all 17 years of the Digital Counties survey and this is the third time Dutchess County has earned the No. 1 national ranking.  

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “Whether they’re residents searching for information about Dutchess County or our municipal partners looking to collaborate and find savings for taxpayers, people are at the heart of everything our Office of Central and Information Services does. OCIS’ efforts have again led to Dutchess County being recognized as a nationwide technological leader – an honor that stems from our continued efforts to ensure resources are accessible, easy to use, efficient, and innovative for those who use them. Commissioner Glenn Marchi and his OCIS staff strive each day to best serve the residents of Dutchess County, and this award validates their tireless efforts.”

Dutchess County continues to lead the nation in 2019 with technological innovations that included the launch of a completely redesigned County website, and brand-new Parks & Trails website.

The new county website is mobile responsive, with easy-to-use search features to filter through the wealth of information available on the site.  The website’s user-friendly interface prioritizes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, Plain Language usage and features ReciteMe, an accessibility application, which allows visitors to customize the site to meet their needs through text-to-speech functionality, font adjustment for dyslexia, an interactive dictionary, a translation tool, and many other features. The new website has seen a visitor increase of more than 50 percent for the first four months, compared to last year, and increased page views of more than 200 percent as people more easily find information. 

In April, the County also launched its new Parks & Trails website for park enthusiasts to choose from nearly 200 parks and public use areas, as well as almost 400 miles of trails throughout Dutchess County using keyword searches and up to 50 filter options, including desired activities, fitness goals, or available accessibility features. The site also features virtual 360-degree tours of each park. 

Other County initiatives highlighted in the various Digital Counties Survey categories include:

Citizen-Centric (Government Experience: Web, Mobile, Social, Digital Services)

  • Various County departments are providing self-service kiosks and/or digital signage for residents to submit records or find out about employment and exam information. New self-service kiosks at the Department of Community & Family Services (DCFS) allow clients to submit paperwork and track their case online. Nearly 50 percent of transactions now take place at the kiosks, significantly reducing wait times for clients and increasing the total intake by 10 percent for a three-month period compared to last year.
  • OCIS has been an integral part of the County’s Shared Services initiatives with local municipalities. For example, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Shared Service alone has provided municipal partners $2.2 million in annual savings.
  • The County also  partnered with the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department to use the County’s new public safety system. This new system, which successfully launched last year, 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. Due to the success of this shared services initiative, other local police departments have expressed an interest in collaborating in the future.
  • Dutchess County Government is active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to inform and engage residents about county activities, events, meetings, budget items and more.  Dutchess County’s social media following has increased by more 120 percent since 2016, as more residents and visitors rely on social media for information.

Efficient (Data-Driven)

  • Dutchess County continues to expand direct public access to County documents and data through the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. Legislative Resolutions, County Clerk Documents, Class Specifications/Job Descriptions Search and other information are all easily accessible online.  Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall recently partnered with OCIS to offer the MacCraken Index as a search tool and companion to the Ancient Documents Collection. The index, as well as the documents themselves, provides a wealth of information about Dutchess County’s rich and vibrant history.
  • The County Clerk’s Office also now offers a secure, online recording option to electronically submit land records, such as assignments, deeds, discharges, and mortgages, providing customers, including title companies, banks, and attorneys, with a faster, more efficient, paperless recording option. 

Data Governance (Utilization of Data)

  • Dutchess County has upgraded features and functionality of its 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 ParcelAccess database or use the historic aerial photos database to compare regional infrastructure development over time. In 2018, Dutchess County Government was honored with a CIO 100 Award for ParcelAccess, the web-based property information database application.

Secure (Cybersecurity Measures and Initiatives)

  • 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 numerous security protocols. For example, the County installed an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) for both the Board of Elections and County networks, through which a vendor provides 24/7 monitoring and immediate notification in the event of a cybersecurity related issue.

Resilient (Disaster Recovery and Continuity of Operations)

  • The County upgraded its disaster recovery software to dramatically reduce recovery time in the event of a disaster from more than three days to only hours by incorporating off-site and government cloud replication for critical applications.

Connected Infrastructure

  • To keep up with the growing surge in Wi-Fi traffic, the County continues to upgrade its wireless network to ensure secure access to the County infrastructure, as well as internet access for employees and the public.

OCIS Commissioner Glenn Marchi, Ph.D., said, “The Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Services team is dedicated to providing innovative technology and information services to both residents and County departments. We will continue to implement new shared services, seek cost saving opportunities, and develop new resources to maximize user’s digital experience while increasing productivity, value, and customer satisfaction.”

“Innovative counties across the U.S. are leveraging technology and data to complete unique projects that better serve citizens, save taxpayer money and protect citizen data,” said Teri Takai, executive director, CDG. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their accomplishments to make government work for the citizens and businesses they serve.”

“We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for maximizing the value of technology in serving our residents,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Technology plays an important role in achieving healthy, safe and vibrant counties. The Digital Counties Survey demonstrates how we embrace cutting-edge approaches to strengthening our communities.”

Learn more about the Digital Counties Survey.