Small town thinking big with IT
- By Eric Kulisch
- Sep 20, 2000
Town of Knightdale official site
Big cities and states have the lead when it comes to information technology
applications, but small towns are getting into the game.
Knightdale, N.C., is a case in point. The town of 5,200 is four miles
from the state capital and in the heart of high-tech Research Triangle Park,
but like all incorporated governments, it must fend for itself.
Six months ago, Knightdale began operating an employee intranet on the
town's Web site (www.ci.knightdale.nc.us), said Town Manager Gary McConkey.
The intranet contains documents, forms, weather and traffic updates, purchasing
and personnel information, current news, software updates, contact information,
The intranet is accessible at all times, even by the general public
(from the home page, click Employees Only). Police officers on patrol go
to the site via mobile data terminals. McConkey said he is aware of only
two other municipalities in the state that have employee intranets: Greensboro
and Salisbury, both bigger cities than Knightdale.
The town has an e-government project in the works that will allow residents
to see their utility history and pay bills on the Internet, McConkey said.
The town has the software to do this, but considerable effort is required
to post database information on an Internet server, he said. That work will
have to be outsourced because the town does not have its own IT staff.
Knightdale and other small towns in Wake County have piggybacked onto
the county's infrastructure. Wake County has connected all government buildings
in the county with fiber-optic cable or fractional T-1 lines, said Russell
Goff, the county's IT director.
WakeNet, for instance, facilitated the use of the county sheriff's record
and jail management systems by four of the 12 towns in the county, Goff
said. In essence, the county acts as an application service provider.
"What's special about this is that the small-town police departments
were able to get a big-city record management system as if it were their
own," Goff said, but without having to worry about maintaining servers,
creating a firewall, backing up files, or adding special power or facility