Digital Towpath was developed in response to the unique problems faced by small and rural local governments.
Some of the problems of local government in small and rural communities are unique to that group of communities. Staffs are often part-time, if they exist at all. Town offices are open only a few hours a week and are often a long distance from where residents work. Resources are extremely limited since the populations supporting the governments are small. But, each local government is responsible for providing services, despite its size.
About a decade ago a group of local government officials came up with an idea – that there ought to be a cost-effective way for local governments to use the Internet to increase citizens’ access to their governments, especially in these small and rural communities, where staffing and distance play an important role.
Data entry is guided through forms, which accurately reflect the kinds of information a citizen should expect to receive from his local government because local officials participated during all phases of the design process. This remains true today.
Communities where Digital Towpath websites have been implemented have experienced greater interaction with their residents. Residents enjoy increased access to their local government’s services and to officials.
Benefits to the municipalities themselves include the low annual cost for a robust and easily maintained website and a community of municipalities, sharing strategies for accomplishing the business of local government and, in many cases, other resources as a result.
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