MEDFORD — Because of its commitment to utilizing information technology to inform and serve the public, Jackson County Government has been named one of 2009’s Top Ten Digital Counties in the United States. Jackson County ranks 8th in its category, based on size, in the 2009 Digital Counties Survey, which recognizes the most technologically-advanced, cutting-edge county governments in the U.S.
The 2009 Digital Counties Survey is an annual study by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government (Center) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) which identifies best practices and recognizes those counties with exemplary digital service to their citizens.
“We are honored to be recognized for our leading-edge technology use,” said Mark Decker, Director of Jackson County Information Technology Services. “County government has a duty to taxpayers, especially during these hard economic times, to operate as efficiently as possible. Our investments in technology have helped us deliver services more efficiently, increase convenience for citizens, and communicate with the public. The Jackson County website is one of the most cost-effective communication tools we have. We've put a lot of energy into making information available online. As a result, citizens have instant access to a wealth of public information, and don't have to call or visit county offices to get it. This saves time and money, both for county staff and for the citizen.”
Jackson County Government undertook a major web site renovation last year to provide improved search tools, more information, and easier navigation. The web address is www.jacksoncounty.org.
The new site was designed to encourage more citizen participation and allow better access to government. Some of the new services include: a new search engine optimized to return the best results to the 100 most commonly searched terms; embedded interactive maps to County offices with pan, zoom and driving directions; RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds which allow citizens to subscribe to news and pages such as election results, and be notified as soon as information is added; “Quick Link” navigation with one-click access to the most commonly viewed pages; a live video feature so users can watch live RVTV (Rogue Valley Television) video of weekly Board of Commissioners’ meetings; land survey information; and real-time public water data, including current reservoir levels, from the Watermaster.
“The response to our new web site has been very positive,” said Decker. “The number of people who subscribe to receive county news via email has increased by more than 50 percent since the re-design.”
Jackson County competes in the 150,000 to 249,999 population category; winner in that category was Roanoke County, Virginia. Complete results are available at www.centerdigitalgov.com or direct at www.govtech.com/dc/surveys/counties/90/2009.
“As counties face the budgetary challenges of 2009 and beyond, they are finding Information Technology essential for effective and efficient government,” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “Not only are county governments using technology to continue delivering services with fewer resources, they are using innovative technology to communicate more effectively with their citizens and businesses. The Digital Counties Survey illustrates the innovation and tenacity of counties across the country."
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of eRepublic, Inc., a national publishing, event and research company focused on information technology in the public sector.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments. Created in 1935, NACo continues to ensure that the nation’s 3,066 counties are heard and understood in the White House and Congress.
For more information, please contact: Mark Decker, Director, Jackson County Information Technology Services, at (541) 774-6023.