addition of on-site e-mail has eliminated costly cell phone bills and enabled more reliable communication.

With Accela Wireless, Smith said the county has seen at least a 30 percent increase in the number of inspections being carried out, saving each inspector an hour and a half per day of wasted time.

"Our inspectors were able, using Accela Wireless, to drastically change the way in which they function," Smith said. "It has increased our efficiency, minimized inspection time and enabled them to do more inspections. That speaks volumes to the community. It shows we are flexible and here to meet their needs."

Community Service

The point of all of this--indeed the point of the digital community--is to improve how government serves citizens.

As an example of how Accela Wireless impacts citizens' lives, Smith recalled an incident where a vehicle crashed into a house at 2:30 a.m. The county's response process used to take weeks but can now be done in a day.

"We got called to the site because they did not feel the structure was safe because the vehicle hit right on the corner of the house," she said. "Our inspector went out to the site, and he took his notebook, did a service request and took pictures at the site. There were corrections and some adjustments that had to be made within the next 24 hours for the people to continue living in that house."

Because the property owner lived in another state, the inspector e-mailed him pictures and other information necessary to move forward with repairs.

"When the property owner awoke that morning, he not only had been informed that there were corrections that needed to be made but he had pictures showing him everything that had to be repaired. He was able to call his insurance company and contractor to make the necessary corrections. Within 24 hours, everything was moving ahead."