December 8, 2006 By News Report
New features on the redesigned site include real-time local weather conditions, improved search capabilities powered by Google and expanded self-service capabilities for many city services such as payment of city bills, online registration for Parks and Recreation Department classes and online access to Police incident reports.
The VBgov.com redesign continues a strong initiative to improve the city's customer service offerings. In addition to the city's recently implemented 311 service and popular online assistance service, the new site provides an opportunity to conduct city business through ease of use and 24-hour access to the city's most commonly requested services and information.
Gwen K. Cowart, director of communications and information technology, explains the goal. "Virginia Beach considers customer service to be one of its highest priorities. For many years, VBgov.com has been a valuable resource to all of us as citizens and this will continue. With the release of this new site design, we have focused on providing site visitors with enhanced, user-friendly access to the services and information they need, without having to navigate through multiple levels of content. Additionally, the close connection between VBgov.com, Online Assistance, and the 311 Center ensures that our citizens will get the answers and assistance they need in the way they are most comfortable -- self help, online assistance or via the phone."
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.