March 23, 2012 By Wayne Hanson
Orange County Calif., Assessor Webster Guillory, speaking at the National Association of Counties' Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., recently, said that the Maricopa County Ariz., Recorder's kiosks were a bright idea that took three years to develop. Other counties could start from scratch and spend another three years developing something similar, he said, or they could find out what Maricopa did and “start on the shoulders of Maricopa County.”
Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell talked to Government Technology about the kiosks and how they work. Maricopa is a large county, said Purcell, with some residents 60 miles away from downtown Phoenix. To record a document, she said, might require a couple hours driving, plus finding parking and so forth, so she was looking for an idea to make things simpler. "My IT people and staff along with my chief deputy came up with this recording kiosk," she said. "They designed it, and had somebody build the unit."
The county has 17 libraries sitting on the fiber backbone, so several libraries were selected, and the kiosks -- which are about the size of a large table -- were installed. Purcell pointed out a video on how to use the kiosks, and said the idea is to make it a similar experience to visiting the front counter in the Recorder's Office.
"There’s a scanner to scan your document, and our employee then looks at the document to make sure that it’s recordable," she said. "There’s a place for a credit card, and after you’ve paid, it returns a cover page to you that shows that document is recorded, when it was recorded and how, and you’re out of there in a matter of minutes. And you’ve got your recorded document with you, we have the scanned copy." The kiosks are now located in three libraries scattered around the valley, with plans for two more, she said.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.