To the web and beyond — Colorado governments win digital awards

Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell and Secretary of State Wayne Williams were among the Coloradans who picked up awards Friday night in Austin, Texas, from the Center for Digital Government. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams joined other Coloradans in Austin, Texas, Friday night where they were honored for their sophisticated digital efforts in the fields of elections, real estate assessments and other services.

The Secretary of State’s office, the Douglas County Assessor’s office and Larimer County government were among the winners in the Center for Digital Government’s 2nd annual Government Experience Awards.

“It was an honor to be a part of that awards ceremony and learn what other states, counties and cities are doing digitally to save taxpayers’ money and enrich and secure the lives of the people they serve,” Williams said.

“As the chief elections officer for the state, I am gratified that our efforts at implementing a risk-limiting audit to ensure ballot accuracy continues to be recognized for making Colorado the safest state to cast a vote.”

The three Colorado winners who attended the Center for Digital Awards ceremony in person pose for a picture afterward: Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell and Gregg Turnbull, webmaster for Larimer County. (SOS photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen recently praised Colorado as a national leader in safeguarding elections, saying, “We’d love to continue to use you as an example of what other states can adopt.”

The Secretary of State’s office won in the Government-to-Government Experience category.

Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell and her staff were honored in the County Government-to-Citizen Experience category.

“The Douglas County Assessor’s Office has a reputation for innovation and trend-setting in our profession, and other counties look to our office for best practices,” she said.

“The office launched an enhanced website in 2017 that makes the site easy to use on phones and tablets and connects with map services, making it easier to find information without visiting the office in Castle Rock or calling the staff — although it offers an online chat with assessor staff.

Larimer County took fourth place in the Overall County Government Experience category. Picking up the award was webmaster Gregg Turnbull.

“Along with my amazing team, we rebuilt and launched, Larimer County’s website which serves 330,000 plus citizens,” he said. “The new site is mobile friendly, built for both usability and accessibility, and designed to cater to needs of the citizen first. We’ve also focused on making county data more readily available, and integrated into to presentation of site content —  with dashboards and data driven elements taking on key roles in many of the sites pages.”

Teri Takai, the executive director of the Center for Digital Government, left, poses with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, and another conference-goer in Austin, Texas, Friday night. (SOS photo)

The website’s offerings include restaurant inspections and licensing wait times, and provides answers to frequently asked questions, such as “What is the county seat?” Fort Collins.

What makes Larimer County’s award unique is its size. The other four winners in the category are behemoth counties, such as Miami-Dade and San Diego.

Jefferson County was a finalist in the same division.

In addition, Denver took fifth place in the Overall City Government Experience category.

The awards presentation was Friday night at the Archer Hotel, following a day of what was billed as a “Government Experience Academy” where some of the winning projects were discussed in detail.

Out-of-state winners included:

  • The Nebraska State Patrol, for its program allowing concealed-carry permit holders the ability to renew or replace a permit online.
  • The city of Albuquerque’s 311 services, which handles requests through Amazon Alexa, including graffiti removal and city-owned golf courses and community center.
  • The New York City Housing Authority, which has an app that allows participants to pay online, change an address or check their status if they are on a wait list.
Teri Takai, the executive director of the Center for Digital Government’s executive director, AND Douglas County staffers who attended an awards ceremony Friday night in Austin, Texas. From left to right, Takai, Sarah Mandrekar, Mark Longacher, Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell, Deputy Assessor Toby Damisch and a person from the conference. (SOS photo)