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The Mobile Citizen: Reach Them Where They Are (Part 1 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Reach Them Where They Are (Part 1 of 4)
There's a shift happening in how we get information, use services and communicate with others. It's a mobile shift. Forrester, a leading market research firm, calls it the "mobile mind shift" and describes it as an "expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need." As companies like Uber and Amazon continue to leverage mobile technology to reach customers during these specific "mobile moments," it's not as easy for government to engage their "mobile" citizens. Why? Because, unlike businesses, governments can't target their customers with a service tailored to a specific need. Government must serve everyone by delivering a multitude of services as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. At Accela, we believe that governments, regardless of size, should have the best tools to meet their residents where they are, when they need it. With the Accela Civic Platform, citizens are able to use...
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Startup in a Day: Have You Accepted the Challenge?

Startup in a Day: Have You Accepted the Challenge?
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Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar on the national Startup in a Day initiative . The White House is working with the National League of Cities, and has challenged governments across the country to reduce the new business licensing and permitting process to less than a day. As of last week, 71 cities and Native American reservations have taken up the challenge. I was joined by Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities and former mayor of South Bay, Florida, and Peter Koht, who previously focused on small business support with the Economic Development Department in Santa Cruz, California, which inspired him to cofound OpenCounter . We’ve teamed up with OpenCounter to offer a solution that meets the needs of this national call to arms by making it easier for cities of all sizes to support new businesses. In fact, the City of Palo Alto launched...
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It’s Always Sunny in…Delaware? Solar Industry Trends That May Surprise You

It’s Always Sunny in…Delaware? Solar Industry Trends That May Surprise You
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I recently spent a hot and humid few days in Charlotte (Mecklenburg County!), North Carolina, which was hosting the National Association of Counties (NACo) annual convention. Vince Nicoletti, the Building Chief from one of our great customers, San Diego County, was asked to share his department’s experience around online solar permitting at NACo’s Technology & Innovation Summit. Vince was also part of the San Diego County team that was being honored by NACo with an award for its Process Improvement Team (“The PIT crew”). San Diego County might be a leading indicator for the rapid growth that we’re expecting to see for residential solar in the coming years — the County has seen a 300 percent increase in requests for solar permits in five years and expects to issue 6,000 in 2015. Many attribute this spike to the ownership arrangements now available that clear away the hefty upfront costs of...
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Last Call: Why It’s “Prime Time” for Alcoholic Beverage Control Regulation

Last Call: Why It’s “Prime Time” for Alcoholic Beverage Control Regulation
Nearly 100 years post-Prohibition, alcohol control remains a highly complex topic. This is due in large part to inconsistencies surrounding alcohol licensing, permitting and citizen confusion about the rules and regulations of when and where alcoholic beverages can be purchased and consumed. State by state, differences abound for citizens’ ability to buy alcohol in grocery stores vs. liquor stores, and on Sunday vs. any day. Questions linger even within restaurants and bars: What time constitutes "last call," and is it consistent across county and state lines? Business owners face a slightly different challenge: a lengthy and complex application process for liquor licenses and permits that can require months of waiting to receive an approval, or worse, a denial. In a previous life, I was the State Licensing Director for the State of Connecticut. I’ve seen the thick paper files of alcohol permit applications, reference checks and background information required for...
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Using Social Media for an Open Government: 7 Tips to Get You Started

Using Social Media for an Open Government: 7 Tips to Get You Started

Social media can be a powerful tool for the government to listen to their citizens and for citizens to interact with their local government. It is a force to help build relationships, drive engagement and enhance agency reputations.

Government agencies are using social media more and more to interact with citizens and local businesses in their community.

Here are 7 tips to help get your agency started on social media:

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5 Government Technology Trends to Watch in 2015

5 Government Technology Trends to Watch in 2015

There’s no denying that technology helps you deliver services faster—giving you the ability to improve your civic operations. With an ever-changing technology landscape, municipalities are pressured to transform and adapt quickly. As the evolution in technology and government grows in 2015, we not only need to evaluate trends, but also understand what makes sense for your city and your citizens.

Here are the top five local government technology trends to check out in the coming year:

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