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8th Annual Digital Counties Survey - 2010 Results


Survey Shows U.S. Counties Continue To Improve Services Despite Tough Economy


e.Republic's Center for Digital Government (Center) Digital Communities program is once again focusing national attention on the best examples of how information and communication technology (ICT) are used to support and provide public service through its annual Digital Counties Survey.

The Center found that America's counties are continuing to meet the challenge of providing effective and affordable government as evidenced by their accomplishments and future plans for public safety, social and health services, natural resource management, economic development and administrative efficiencies. The survey is an annual study by the Center and the National Association of Counties (NACo) which identifies best practices and recognizes those counties that provide exemplary electronic service to their public.

Digital Communities Director, Todd Sander, said, "The survey data we collected shows that counties of all sizes are rising to meet the current economic challenge. They are finding impressive new ways to use ICT to deliver affordable public service at the very time many people expect and need more from their government. Congratulations to all the winners!"

"Across America counties continue working to balance their local priorities with new responsibilities passed to them from the federal and state governments" said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. "The Digital Counties Survey identifies the very best examples of how counties are aligning technology to support strategic priorities and create crucial operational and administrative efficiencies."

This year's survey was underwritten by Hyland Software, developers of OnBase, Quest Software, Inc., Public Sector, CDW-G, Insight Public Sector, Symantec and Sprint. All companies are proud partners of county governments across America.


Congratulations to the Digital Counties Survey 2010 Winners:


500,000 or more population:
1st Montgomery County, Md.

2nd Prince George's County, Md.

3rd Palm Beach County, Fla.

3rd San Diego County, Calif.

4th County of Orange, Calif.

5th Oakland County, Mich.

6th Wake County, N.C.

7th Fairfax County, Va.

7th Sacramento County, Calif.

7th Westchester County, N.Y.

8th Hennepin County, Minn.

9th Miami-Dade County, Fla.

10th Anne Arundel County, Md.

10th King County, Wash.


250,000-499,999 population:
1st Chesterfield County, Va.

2nd Loudoun County, Va.

3rd Clackamas County, Ore.

4th Ottawa County, Mich.

5th Dutchess County, N.Y.

5th Placer County, Calif.

6th Guilford County, N.C.

7th Dakota County, Minn.

7th Douglas County, Colo.

8th Forsyth County, N.C.

9th Washoe County, Nev.

9th Washtenaw County, Mich.

10th Hamilton County, Ind.


150,000-249,999 population:
1st County of Hanover, Va.

2nd Cumberland County, Pa.

3rd Doña Ana County, N.M.

4th Boone County, Mo.

4th Gaston County, N.C.

5th Roanoke County, Va.

6th Yuma County, Ariz.

7th Sussex County, N.J.

8th Mohave County, Ariz.

9th Kenton County, Ky.

10th Onslow County, N.C.


Less than 150,000 population:

1st: Charles County, Md.

2nd: Nevada County, Calif.

3rd: Franklin County, Va.

4th: Skagit County, Wash.

5th: County of Albemarle, Va.

6th: Martin County, Fla.

7th: Columbia County, Ga.

8th: Olmsted County, Minn.

9th: Napa County, Calif.

10th: Bay County, Mich.


Summary of Selected Survey Findings and Trends:


Measures to Deal with Economic Downturn

  • 92% of counties are pursuing federal stimulus, grants and fees to lessen dependence on the county general fund - an increase of six percent from 2009
  • 78% are consolidating data centers, servers, applications and staff - a 10 percent increase over last year
  • 72% plan reductions in staffing and operating hours - three percent more than last year
  • 69% are pursuing joint service delivery - a 12 percent increase over 2009
  • 60% are planning agency consolidation, mergers and/or elimination - more than 10 percent increase in the past year
  • The largest increase since 2009:
  • 52% may have cuts in public service delivery - a 16 percent increase in cuts
  • 49% plan increased reliance on third parties (private, commercial and not-for-profit) - up 15 percent


Priorities, This Year and Next Year

Governance & Management: The two highest priorities this year are the same for next year:

  • Aligning the IT strategic plan with the county's strategic business plan, and
  • Disaster recovery/ business continuity
The following are a higher priority in 2011 than 2010:

  • Cross Agency/ Cross Jurisdictional Collaboration,
  • Cyber Security/ Information Security (Policy),
  • ICT Workforce: Skills Development and Retention, and
  • Identity and Access Management
Computing Management: The top three priorities remain the same next year:

  • Virtualization,
  • GeoSpatial (GIS) Computing and Analysis, and
  • Consolidation
Network Management:

  • In 2011 Unified Communications (voice, data, video, presence) will be the priority over broadband


Counties reported the following levels of sustained collaboration in service delivery:

  • 74% - Public Safety, Emergency Management & Corrections
  • 69% - Finance, Administration and Tax
  • 63% - Health, Social and Human Services
  • 51% - Licensing and Permitting
  • 51% - Energy, Environment, Parks and Recreation, Natural Resources
  • 50% - Employment, Labor and Workforce

Web Technologies and Services Provided:

  • Decrease from two-thirds to one-third in Webcasts -streamed audio and video, live and archived, including civic cable channel
  • Other social media increased:
  • 42% - increase of seven percent - are making use of Social Networks, such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn
  • 37% - also a seven percent increase since last year - are using Micro Blogs, such as Twitter, Yammer, or Plurk
  • 46% - a sixteen percent increase- are using Video Sharing sites such as YouTube, and Hulu
  • 81% of counties surveyed now offer transactional processing online (such as pay tickets, taxes, register for alerts)