The city has instituted a citizen complaint form that received laughs from the award ceremony audience, but has been very popular among San Carlos residents. "One citizen called me to tell me he liked the online form," Moura said, "not because he was able to get whatever he needed taken care of -- although I expect that pleased him too -- but because he sent in his complaint via e-mail, he was responded to quickly and the action was taken. That citizen felt in touch with his government and he never had to visit City Hall."

San Carlos also makes connections to city businesses by providing an area restaurant guide and links to Realtors and other city businesses. The realty section gives newly arriving citizens a chance to view area real estate, including pictures of properties. "Clearly, we have stimulated some economic growth," Moura said. "What we found early on is that by linking to other sites, it made our site richer and more interesting."

UTAH

Second and third place in the state government category went to Utah and the Virginia Department of Transportation , respectively. John Child, Webmaster for Utah, said, "We're absolutely thrilled with the award. This contest was a catalyst for us to completely redo the site. We coordinated information from 118 servers and over 22,000 documents. What we've tried to focus on is the ease with which users navigate our site. It is our goal to get the user from the home page to the information they want in three clicks or less. We try to use links that describe the information they lead to rather than blind links. We used the contest as a motivator for a complete makeover of the state site and we're committed to it. They have created a position of Webmaster and we expect to continue to update and grow our Web presence," he said. "We'll be back to try to win next year."

VIRGINIA DOT

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been hosting their Web site at the University of Virginia since its inception one year ago, but staff have purchased a server and have plans to bring it "in house" soon, according to Web site editor Bob Spieldenner, a member of the agency's public relations staff. The site's clean look and polished graphics are the result of the work of the department's other two members of the Web site team, Graphics Designer Kelly Balagtas and Web Site Manager Jerri Kittle.

The more popular areas of the agency's site include state maps and construction information. Many of the maps are downloadable and efforts are under way to make more of the state's maps available in digital format. The "doing business" section of the site provides project information to vendors interested in doing business with the state. Live traffic updates are easily the most dramatic areas of the site. Cameras in Northern Virginia give motorists an up-to-date view of traffic conditions in their area. It is expected that this service will be expanded to include the Virginia Beach and Norfolk areas.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.

The city of Rochester and the city of New York placed second and third, respectively, in the local government category. Richard Goldstein, assistant to the director of communications, said Rochester's site was started as a labor of love. "I basically started this thing on my own time," he said. "Converting what is now nearly 10MB of information into HTML that is hosted on the City Library's server ... thank God for OCR software," he said. "But now that it's all in there, I can update the site within the normal activities of my job. We started out with a $5,000 contract