Best Practices - Vol. IV

Mayor Kirk Watson

The Austin City Connection

The Austin City Connection opened for business on the World Wide Web on February 21, 1995 when the Mayor and City Council, City employees and community volunteers who helped build the site broke an electronic ribbon that released 300 files and databases of City information and services. Initial offerings included information as basic as the City Charter and as dynamic as weekly City Council agendas, weekly job postings and purchasing bid lists.

Usage and services have grown dramatically during the past two years. Customers accessed files 14,000 times per week in February 1995 and 130,000 times per week in October 1996. As City employees have learned to add information and services to the Connection, the site has grown to include more than 2,000 files, databases, e-mail links and an increasing number of interactive processes, including the Austin Public Library catalog and convention housing registration.

Services coming on-line during the next few months include the interactive City Code of Ordinances, a comprehensive database of neighborhood and community associations, and a one- stop-shop service center that allows users to send on-line requests for the myriad of City services, including garbage, pothole repairs and zoning information. Key business goals of the Connection are to use the Internet and other emerging technologies to improve City service, and to use the Internet and other emerging technologies to increase opportunities for citizen participation in government.

For the second year in a row, the City of Austin's Internet service has won the top award for on-line government service and communication excellence in the City- County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) Savvy Award competition. 3CMA, the leading national organization committed to applying marketing and communication principles in public service, sponsors the annual Savvy competition to recognize government innovation and effectiveness.

The Austin City Connection is located on the World Wide Web at

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (512) 499-2250

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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