Phoenix, D.C. win IT honors

Public Technology Institute

The cities of Phoenix and Washington, D.C., each won two awards in the Public Technology Institute's national competition for demonstrating how information technology can improve constituent services, reduce costs or generate revenue.

Institute officials announced six winners earlier this week for their 2004 Solutions Awards, an annual competition that recognizes city and county governments that make good use of IT within several categories, including energy, environment, public safety, telecommunications and IT, and transportation.

For each category, institute officials divide the competition among large municipalities, with populations of 700,000 or more, midsized municipalities, with populations between 100,000 to 699,999, and small municipalities, with populations less than 100,000. Judges did not, however, name a winner in each category. There were a total of 64 entries.

Winners in the large government category include:

* Philadelphia, for a telecommunications and IT initiative that allowed city departments to implement business automation. Department officials can now build browser-based workflow applications.

* Phoenix, for an environmental initiative that demonstrated the technology-facilitated collaborative process among city agencies that created a 688-acre park site.

* Phoenix, for a public safety initiative in which city officials used a camera that detects motion and takes a series of 35 mm photographs of vandals. The camera operates in the daytime and at night and includes a voice activation system that issues a warning to vandals.

In the medium government category, Washington, D.C., won in two categories:

* For a telecommunications and IT project in which city officials used software to integrate application processing, administration, enforcement management, examination tracking, scheduling and reporting for individuals seeking renewal of their health professional licenses. Officials expected the project to save $2.5 million in fiscal 2004.

* For a public safety initiative in which officials developed a Web site for the city's Emergency Information Center.

In the small government category, Santa Monica, Calif., was the sole winner for a telecommunications and IT initiative in which a fiber-optic network was constructed so city, school and college districts have secure and redundant emergency communications. The project lowered costs for voice, data and video communications.

Winners will be honored at the organization's annual conference in Portland, Ore., April 13-15. They will also have an opportunity to present case studies.

The institute, which has been running the annual competition for more than 20 years, is a nonprofit technology research and development organization. It is essentially the technology arm of the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and International City/County Management Association.

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