Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge welcomed recognition for the states aggressive Web initiative. "My administration has emphasized the smart use of technology to improve education, economic development and government operations," said Ridge. "This award recognizes the innovative steps weve taken on our portal to make government services available to Pennsylvanians around the clock."

Maines state home page took third place on the strength of thoughtful electronic services like RemindMe, which e-mails citizens when its time to renew their drivers license, vehicle registration and voting registration. The site, which received an honorable mention in last years Best of the Web, offers nearly 40 electronic transactions and allows citizens to renew 131 types of professional licenses.

A recent redesign of the site boosted traffic by 300 percent, according to state officials. The site logged 13 million hits in April 2001.

Local Winners

New York Citys top-ranked entry is one of the few local government sites that allow citizens to personalize its content, said Robinett. Judges also appreciated the sites "I want to" section, which groups access to the most commonly requested city services under a single heading.

In all, the New York City site includes more than 30,000 pages of content and more than 100 transactional services, according to the city. Officials say the site experienced over 52 million page views in fiscal 2001, more than doubling its fiscal 1999 traffic.

"I am pleased that has been recognized for putting city government at the publics fingertips," said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. "Whether you need to pay a parking ticket, get a birth certificate or check traffic conditions on our roads, is your one-stop portal for online city services and information."

Among the sites more unusual offerings are online traffic hearings and a one-stop e-payment center that allows citizens to pay parking tickets, locate towed vehicles and research property tax payment histories. In addition, the citys site includes links to a number of state agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Division of Criminal Justice and Department of Taxation and Finance.

Second place in the local division went to Montgomery County, Md., which delivers 35 online applications through its eMontgomery portal. Among other things, citizens may pay property taxes, pay parking fines, renew library books, and purchase bus and rail passes through the attractively designed site.

The site also links citizens to virtual tours of county recreation areas and allows them to register and pay for recreation and leisure classes online. Users receive e-mail confirmation for all transactions performed through the portal.

Conyers, Ga., a city of 10,000 people located near Atlanta, finished third with an e-government site that provides practical services such as online tax and traffic fine payments and access to police accident and incident reports. Citizens also may use the site to request city services such as streetlight repair and replacement garbage cans.

Conyers officials said the development of the site was driven by the fact that 65 percent of the citys citizens commute to Atlanta each workday and are unable to conduct face-to-face government transactions during regular business hours.

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  | 

Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic.