August 27, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
Recently, California, Michigan and Utah upgraded their state Web sites. In addition, Missouri launched a 2010 census site. The state estimates that Missouri could lose $1.3 million over the next decade for every 100 citizens not counted in the 2010 census and could potentially lose a congressional seat. According to Missouri officials, more than $300 billion in federal spending is distributed to state and local governments, community organizations and health care providers every year based on census data.
Michigan Gov. Granholm yesterday announced the state's Helping Hand Web site, through which residents can find programs and services that may assist them with jobs and training, unemployment benefits, health care, family support and housing. Danville, Calif., deployed a Web-based property review application, built by Farallon Geographics. The site is built on open standards and uses Google maps imagery so that staff can query and display property ownership, taxation and jurisdiction information.
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.