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CONTACT: Gail Roper, Director of the Information Technology Department, (816) 513-3733

City's Web site among best in the country

The City's Web site ( ranked sixth in the nation in a study Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy conducted to measure the extent to which local governments have services and information online. Last year, the Web site was rated seventh.

The university's research team evaluated Web sites in June and July on more than 24 features including the availability of information and services, the quality of citizen access, privacy, security, disability access and foreign language translations.

The researchers rated the nation's 70 largest cities on a 100-point scale. The highest-ranked city was Minneapolis with a score of 89.5, followed by Seattle (85.9), Denver (85.3), San Diego (79.3), Boston (77.6), Kansas City, Mo. (75.0), Dallas (74.6), Washington, D.C. (74.3), Houston (73.8) and Tampa, Fla. (72.9).

Gail Roper, the director of the City's Information Technology Department, said online services are necessary for city government's future.

"Municipal leaders are charged with finding better ways to communicate with the public," Roper said. "While municipal budgets are shrinking, we must find more effective ways to promote efficiency through technology. E-services are one of those efforts, and so is the added security required to protect citizen privacy when they use those services."

Like other cities in the top 10, Kansas City's Web site offers many interactive features. Citizens can pay parking tickets, apply for a City job, file a complaint or request for service, and check restaurant inspections and the status of building permits. Soon, Web visitors will be able to pay water and earnings tax bills online, and apply and pay for several permits.

"We clearly defined our e-government strategy in 1999 under the city manager's leadership," Roper said. "We feel a great deal of accomplishment regarding our online services to date. It's a slow and methodical process, but we seem to be moving forward in a very positive way."

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