August 1999
Office of the Mayor
City of San Antonio
P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, Texas 78283-3966
(210) 207-7060
Dr. Thomas F. Brereton, Chair
Consultant in Planning and Public Affairs
Tim Bannwolf
City Councilman, City of San Antonio
Elizabeth Mesenbring
Women in Communications
Multimedia Consultant
Jim Brandes
Deputy Director
Alamo Area Council of Governments
Chris Montgomery
Blue Knight Internet Solutions
Mike Coleman
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Richard Murphy
Southwest Research Institute
Dr. Gerry Dizinno
Assistant to the President for Planning and
Institutional Research
St. Mary's University
Chris Powers
Director of Data Resources
San Antonio Water System
Bill Gonzalez
Web-Hed Technologies
Dr. Ann Elizabeth Robinson
International Business Development Consultant;
Visiting Assistant Professor, International Business, University of the Incarnate Word
Dudley Hays
You Are Here Company
John Szurek
Information Ways and Means, Inc.
Rev. Ann Helmke
Animating Director
peaceCenter, San Antonio
Charles Vaughn
Senior Vice President for Telecommunications
Susan Ives
Internet Evangelist
Stan Waghalter
Neighborhood Activist
Roselyn Marcus
Terry Weakly
Chief Operating Officer
nuMedia Group, Inc.
Pleas McNeel
President, South Central Texas Chapter,
The Internet Society (SalsaNet)
David Zolzer
Director, Economic Commerce Program
Our Lady of the Lake University
The task force gratefully acknowledges the contributions of a number of people who - although they were not "members" of the task force, or were forced to withdraw from full participation in our work before its conclusion - nevertheless contributed their insights and support to our effort at various stages. These include:
Tom Baggs
Director of Operations
Center for Distance Learning and Telehealth
UT Health Science Center, San Antonio
Dee McGee
Maximum Management Resources, Inc.
Mary Ellen Burns
United Way of San Antonio
Ian Murdock
Director, New Media
San Antonio Express-News
Gary Chapman
Director, 21st Century Project
The University of Texas at Austin
Steven F. Nail
Senior Systems Engineering Consultant
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Brian Erickson
Manager, Great Northwest Community Improvement Association
Brad Parrott
Executive Director, External Affairs
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Paul Fayfich
P.R. Fayfich & Associates, Inc.
Jonathan Schmidt
Chief Technical Officer
I.C.E.D. Division, Bat Networks
Chuck Frawley
Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations Manager
FIData, Inc.
Juan Sepulveda
Executive Director
The Common Enterprise/San Antonio
Barbara Hendricks
Women In Communications
Roger Topping
Chief Engineer
Cy Hutchinson
Manager of Information and Communication Services
City Public Service
Don White
Matchframe Productions
Phil Jackson
Network Communications Consultant
Susan Yerkes
Columnist, San Antonio Express-News
Rosemary Killen
Southwest Research Institute
We also acknowledge the contributions of the following city staff, who gave generously of their time and effort, on top of all of their regular responsibilities:
Tony Bosmans
Director, Community Relations Department
Emil Moncivais
Director, Planning Department
Nancy Dean
Information Services Department
Bill Wood
Assistant City Attorney
June Garcia
Director, San Antonio Public Library
Craig Zapatos
Central Library Administrator
San Antonio Public Library
Gary J. Moeller
Director, Information Services Department

Finally, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the volunteers of SalsaNet - and particularly to Susan Ives and Bill Gonzalez - who provided invaluable technical support in setting up and maintaining our task force listserv, web site, and public discussion board.


The Mayor's Task Force on Technology Implementation was one of two task forces commissioned by Mayor Howard Peak in the summer of 1997 to move San Antonio toward the reality of a technologically "smart city." This task force was given a three part mandate:
To recommend strategies to improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of City services by using new and emerging technologies to decentralize services and transactions.
To recommend strategies to fully exploit the potential of the Internet as a means to inform citizens better, to involve citizens in their local government, and to market San Antonio in economic development.
To explore related issues and make recommendations as the task force finds appropriate. Specifically included in this was to make recommendations on the City 's organizational structure and budget priorities to maximize the benefits of new technologies, both to the city government and to the city as a community.
At the same time, the "twin" to this task force, known as SATNET, was given a mandate to develop a plan for the physical infrastructure of a metropolitan telecommunications network, and to develop network linkages among the City and the school districts, universities, hospitals, libraries and research institutions in the San Antonio area. The two task forces had overlapping membership, and both were given generous volunteer support by SalsaNet (, including maintenance of a web page for their joint use ( and a public discussion board.
The Technology Implementation Task Force divided itself into three subcommittees which approximately paralleled the major elements of its mandate: Services and Transactions, Citizen Information and Involvement, and Marketing and Economic Development. Each subcommittee began by studying the programs that have been implemented in other cities that are recognized as models in the creative and effective uses of new technologies in its subject area, and assessing San Antonio against that background. Their interim reports at that stage provided the foundation for the recommendations contained in this Final Report. The task force as a whole also submitted a report of Interim Budget Recommendations in June 1998. All of these previous reports were published on the task force's web site.
This report contains edited and updated versions of two of the three subcommittee interim reports and the recommendations of the task force as a whole. (The Marketing and Economic Development Subcommittee did not complete a written report in time for inclusion in this document.  However, its recommendations were considered by the task force as a whole in formulating the overall group's recommendations.)  For brevity, we emphasize our findings about San Antonio and the background for our recommendations, rather than our assessment of other cities. The recommendations section includes updated budget/organizational recommendations as well as the task force 's recommendations for the "Next Steps" which San Antonio should take in order to become a Smart City in the 21st century.
From our research, two general observations can be made regarding the use of technology to provide decentralized services to citizens:
At this stage, governmental instrumentalities are currently using technology mostly to provide information to the citizens of their jurisdiction. The actual provision of services or the ability to engage in transactions with governmental instrumentalities is still limited.
Governmental instrumentalities are currently using kiosk systems as their main source of technology in decentralizing the provision of services and transactions.
The subcommittee did an extensive search of the web pages maintained by other local and state governments, and by selected cities in other countries which have been identified as leaders in the field. Inevitably, this research has a very short half-life of currency and accuracy, and it would be tedious to detail all of the features we found at each site. Therefore this section merely summarizes some highlights and provides links to the web sites where more specific information can be found.
The States Inventory Project ( helps states develop their advanced telecommunications infrastructure by providing a single clearinghouse for tracking state National Information Infrastructure (NII) activities. The States Inventory Project has created an on-line, interactive resource where contributors can post state NII related information. There is a section on this web site called On-Line Delivery of Services, which is broken down into the following subcategories:
benefits distribution,
emergency services, and
other services (environmental permits, traffic tickets).
Each subcategory lists various projects being developed, tested or used in the states. Many states are using video-conferencing to bring people together to share ideas and information. This is especially prevalent in the telemedicine area. Videoconferencing is also being used in the telejustice arena to allow for hearings without the time and expense of everyone traveling to the same location.
Iowa Access ( is an intergovernmental effort that encompasses 14 technology projects, a Steering Committee and a Citizen Council. Some of the projects include obtaining, on-line, business licenses and environmental permits.
The state of Washington delivers information via kiosks and will be expanding the kiosks to allow for payment. In 1999, the state received three top awards for outstanding technology innovations that improve government services. (
Massachusetts provides a large number of application forms on-line which citizens can download and use . It also allows on-line transactions dealing with the renewal of drivers and automobile licenses (
The City of Santa Monica has an advanced Public Electronic Network ( In addition to providing a large amount of information, it allows the following services to be transacted on-line:
Business License Tax Renewal,
Board, Commission, Committee and Citizen Task Force Application,
Consumer Complaint,
Job Interest Card,
Graffiti Removal Request,
Library Card Registration,
Petty Theft Report,
Recreation Class Signup,
Street Maintenance Job Request,
Report on Traffic Conditions,
Volunteer Registration,
AIDS/Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint,
General City Complaint,
Bus Itinerary Request, and
Airport Noise Complaint.
The Minnesota Internet Center ( assists Minnesota communities in realizing the community development potential of information and telecommunications technologies. It provides links to other sites including Minnesota localities regarding their technology projects.
The Davis Community Network ( provides a list and description of technology projects. However, most the projects listed deal more with information than with the actual provision of services.
"abagOnline" (, by the Association of Bay Area Governments in the San Francisco Bay Area, is perhaps the best regional guide to local government services in a large metropolitan region. It provides a wide variety of information about the region, and ABAG also hosts websites for a number of its local governments.
In other countries, one of the most advanced cities in the use of technology for service delivery is Brisbane, Australia. That city has created a corporate subsidiary, Brisbane City Enterprises, to sell a menu of the city's technology and management services to other governments. For example, its "intelligent transport system" tracks buses with electronic sensors in the pavement, compares that information with the schedule, opens up green lights ahead to speed any that are delayed, and even flashes projected arrival times to waiting passengers. It also offers a system of mobile laptops and hand-held computers to report, track and coordinate work orders for city departments, and a digital mapping system which is easily accessed by citizens and businesses.
In addition to governmental and public sites, a number of software developers are active in developing particular applications of technology in local government services. For example, several competitors have developed systems to allow for obtaining construction permits on-line. A Permit Automation Conference was scheduled for 1998 in Reno, Nevada, hosted by one of these permit software companies (
Any research on the provision of decentralized services should begin with what is currently being provided by the City of San Antonio itself.
Via the "Community Link" kiosk system currently in place, the following services and transactions can be performed:
Pay traffic citations, parking citations, and various other misdemeanor citations
Purchase garage sale permits
Make reservations for park sites
Order and pay for a copy of immunization records.
When the task force began its study, it was also possible to look up and pay the City's property tax on any parcel inside the city limits through a kiosk transaction. However, an unfortunate minor side effect of the recent consolidation of city and county property tax collection is that this service is no longer available.
In the future, citizens will also be able to make and file city complaints.
The kiosks also provide access to the City's home page on the web. Through this, citizens can obtain a wealth of information about the city government and city services, and in some cases they can initiate requests for service. These services include public works and code compliance. Potential bidders on City contracts can also print out an application to be put on the City bid list, but this application must be returned by mail.
At this point, San Antonio's kiosk network is about as advanced as any we have found in this kind of application. It encompasses a reasonable range of service transactions which are of genuine value to the average citizen in everyday life. The access to the City's web page appears to be a distinct "plus," compared to other kiosk systems. However, the range of service transactions which could be made accessible through the kiosks still substantially exceeds the City's resources for application development, and priorities for further development of the system are undefined. Thus, the system will become progressively less and less impressive compared to similar technology used in other places, unless the City continues to invest additional resources in additional applications.
In addition, the focus of this system on citizen-oriented services - and its trumpeting as the "flagship" of City technology initiatives - have perhaps diverted attention from another equally important dimension of technology in services and transactions. The blunt fact is, San Antonio has done little worth mentioning in applying new technology to facilitate any kind of business transaction with the city government - everything from bidding on City contracts to applying for a building permit or a zoning variance. These applications are more suited to the environment of the Internet and the city's web page than they are to a kiosk system, and they are likely to involve major "re-engineering " of city administrative processes. In addition, they often face obstacles such as obsolete legal requirements (e.g., involving signatures and professional seals) which the City cannot overcome without support from the state. In this respect, the City merely reflects the common situation of other places, which have done much better in providing information than they have in actually delivering services.
Many cities (as well as states and other local governments) provide extensive information to their citizens and others through pages on the worldwide web. The scope of the information they offer ranges from relatively static and pedestrian information of general public interest (e.g., bus schedules and library hours) through informative materials for more specialized and attentive audiences, which require regular and timely updating (e.g., City Council minutes and commission agendas). Codes and various regulations are often available for browsing and downloading. Commonly, forms are provided for at least a few, relatively simple requests for service (e.g., pothole repairs or missing street signs), and email links direct information requests and other inquiries to the proper office for a response. Sometimes a city's web page contains extensive links to related agencies, but typically this is a minor aspect of the site compared to information about the services of the individual jurisdiction itself. Smaller cities also often make available general background information about the community - demographics, local attractions and civic events, etc. Generally, local government web sites are fairly simple but attractive in their design, and easy to navigate.
Compared to such relatively passive provision of information, few cities provide very much in the way of actual access to records and services (e.g., to place a "hold" on a library book in circulation, as opposed to merely viewing a map of branch locations and information about their hours and programs.) One of the best that we have found in this respect is the site maintained by the City of Indianapolis/Marion County, Indiana (, which won a 1997 Global Information Infrastructure award in the government category for its strength in this dimension.
Compared to other large cities, San Antonio's web site ( is relatively extensive in sheer size, with a separate page for almost every department, in addition to a few general pages (including a useful directory of services and a "what's new" page). These pages provide basic information about the activities and organization of the city government, descriptive information about city services, and some ability to contact particular offices (telephone numbers and some email links). This information is generally helpful and descriptive enough to assist most citizens in getting basic descriptions of city functions and services.
Other observers have rated San Antonio relatively favorably regarding electronic access, use and services. For example, a 1998 evaluation by Yahoo of "America's 100 Most Wired Cities" ranked San Antonio 27th, with this ranking based partly on "bonus points" awarded for electronic access to the city government.
Beneath this broad surface, however, San Antonio's use of telecommunications technology for information and access has some major deficiencies.
In the view of this task force, perhaps the city's greatest shortcoming is the sheer unevenness of its web pages. Until now, the city's policy has been to have each department develop its own web page independently of every other department. The majority of these (if not all of them) have been developed by outside consultants - also working independently of each other. The Information Services Department maintains the city's overall opening page, and the Public Information Office maintains a "what's new" page, but neither office exercises any real management oversight of the city's web site as a whole. Maintenance of departmental web pages, once created, has typically been added onto the existing, unrelated responsibilities of whatever staff member once happened to show some individual interest in the issue (or, perhaps, the one who was unluckiest on some particular day).
The results of this policy might have been predictable. On the positive side, some departments (e.g., the Library and the Police Department) have developed web pages which are extensive, informative, useful, well designed, and very creatively implemented. In their individual functional areas, these are fully equal to the best we have found anywhere among other cities' web pages.
On the negative side, some departments seem to have difficulty conceiving of much information that would be useful on a web page, or they simply lack either the will or the resources (or both) to develop a truly useful page. And it is clear that many departments are quite unable to keep updated the materials they have once started to post to their pages. (We believe it would be unfair to cite specific examples while leaving out so many others. However, we also believe it would be better if these departments had never made the promises they cannot fulfill.)
Beyond this unevenness from one department to another, an additional unfortunate consequence is that the city's overall web presence could fairly be called a shambles. Every department's page is completely different in its conception from every other. With no commonality of format or navigational structure, the total package is user-unfriendly in the extreme. A user must learn how to navigate each department's page from scratch, as if each one were a totally different web site belonging to a totally separate government. Even potentially useful links (e.g., from Neighborhood Planning to the Police Department's neighborhood crime data, or from Economic Development to current bid procurements by the Purchasing and General Services Department) are problematic in this environment. They bounce a web browser from one department's page to another without warning, and with no idea where he or she has landed in relation to where they started, or how to navigate effectively between the two departments. Thus the real value of the whole effort falls far short of its true potential, and far short in comparison with the resources already invested in it.
A related deficiency, in our task force view, is the way the city has neglected to use the Internet to provide access to services, in addition to descriptive information. While the Community Link kiosks (discussed in the section above, on Services and Transactions) at least temporarily approximate the state of the art, they appear to be treated as a substitute for the power of the Internet rather than as a supplement to that power. While the kiosks give access to city's entire web site, the web site does not support the same transactions as the kiosks. Many of even the simplest of transactions (e.g., purchasing a publication from the City Clerk's office) are not available through a web browser. One major limitation which prevents many transactions from being implemented is the city's lack of a secure server to support credit card purchases. Again, this "underdevelopment" of the city's web site appears to be due to the simple lack of will and/or resources to develop the site effectively.
A third deficiency is in the way the city uses email for communication between citizens and the city government. At present, individual departments provide email links to their staff through their web pages in a pattern which can only be called haphazard. As with the issues of web page design, formatting and navigation, the result from a citizen's perspective is a study in frustration. This greatly reduces the usefulness of this communications medium, instead of capitalizing on its real potential.
One aspect of this issue may be the way the City budgets for email to/from the outside world, through a modest monthly charge-back to the department by ISD. Arguably, this presents each department Director with the choice of funding one more email account vs. filling a few more potholes, buying a few more library books, publishing one more program information pamphlet, etc. More fundamentally, however, this issue involves the other resources associated with this form of communication: the allocation of adequate staff time to handle the potential volume of e-communications, and the development and administration of appropriate protocols to log messages, route them to an appropriate respondent, and track and record responses. This is all a burden which is easier to avoid than to confront, in a context of scarce resources.
The task force believes that the present administrative arrangements and bureaucratic incentives systematically deter city departments from making the most effective use of email for communication with citizens. We believe the solution to this problem must involve a conscious commitment as a city government - not as a collection of unrelated city departments - to use this communications technology to the best advantage of everyone.
Finally, we return to the issue of the content of the city departments' web pages. We have not attempted a detailed inventory of what San Antonio offers in comparison with other cities, because this could be extremely cumbersome and it would not serve a useful purpose at this stage. We believe it is sufficient to note that the historic policy of "Let 100 Flowers Bloom" has produced enormous variation from one department to another in the breadth, depth and quality of information available.
The variety of useful information we have found on other cities' web pages is mind boggling. Obviously, the wealth of material which could be made available in electronic form far exceeds any city's resources available for doing so. Therefore priorities must be set, and limited resources allocated accordingly.
In San Antonio's case, it appears that departments' web page offerings depend - more than anything else - on such unknowable vagaries as what information just happens to be available already in some other form, the personal interests of a staff member with a part-time assignment to maintain the department's page, etc., rather than on any rational or conscious plan at all. It appears that the city has never deliberately considered how making available additional materials in the City Clerk's office (for example) stacks up against additional materials from the Planning Department, the Metropolitan Health District or the Economic Development Department (to continue with a series of random examples), as a real priority to the city as a whole.
Therefore we conclude this section with one general and overarching observation. It is that the existing "laissez faire" management policy which has governed the city's use of telecommunications technology up to now is no longer adequate or appropriate. It may have served a useful purpose in the past, in encouraging individual departments to explore new possibilities and to demonstrate their potentials. However, as both technology and users' expectations have matured, the time for this approach has clearly passed. San Antonio desperately needs some central management of its web page presence, and a conscious commitment to develop the potential of the Internet for citizen information, access to services, and involvement in local government.
(1) The City should begin now to develop a "next generation" of the Community Link Action Plan.
This planning effort should be based on research including a citizen survey to determine (1) what additional services citizens want to access and what additional transactions they want to conduct through kiosks and the Internet, and (2) their preferred delivery system and location.
The planning effort should also study City service points and identify how the citizen/user process can be improved or made more efficient, especially electronically - so citizens/users can avoid having to be there physically, or to wait in line.
It should also include a resource survey to determine what is available and in use now, and where city offices with networked computers are located now.
Based on this research, new initiatives should be implemented first on a pilot basis to prove concepts, software and administrative support before being expanded citywide.
The original Community Link Action Plan was based on extensive citizen research and detailed analysis of city service delivery. It has guided the City in developing its networks of kiosks at major malls and shopping centers and the Community Link Service Centers. These initiatives have placed San Antonio - for the time being - in the front rank of cities using technology in this fashion to deliver citizen services.
However, that plan is now three years old and its implementation is essentially complete. There are no defined priorities for additional services to be implemented through the kiosks in FY 1999-2000. Meanwhile the Internet has experienced its most explosive growth, and a larger and larger proportion of citizens have become comfortable conducting various transactions through this medium.

(2) The City should undertake more extensive marketing efforts to communicate the availability of services through the kiosks and the Internet, and more extensive programs to educate citizens about their use.
The "Showcases of City Services" at malls and other locations have been well received, but they require elaborate mobilization and they are only a small part of the effort that is needed. Likewise, the Library's efforts to expand computer literacy and access - although well conceived and creatively executed for a public library system - are inadequate to the task, if that is all the City does. It needs to become a major priority to the city government as a whole to help make people more aware of these services, and more comfortable in using them.

(3) The City should present the same "face" to the world through its web site as it does through the kiosks. Citizens/users should be able to transact at least as much business with the City through a web browser as they can conduct at a kiosk.
Today, the Community Link kiosks provide access to the entire city web site, but the web site itself does not allow citizens to conduct as many transactions with the City as they can through the kiosks. The principal limitation is on transactions which require a payment for services through a credit card.
This asymmetry violates any principle that the City should make itself as accessible as possible electronically. City information and services should be equally available to citizens using computer terminals in libraries, community centers, schools, their own offices and bedrooms, as they are special kiosks in shopping malls. In the long run, the kiosks should be a supplement to the City's accessible presence on the web, rather than the other way around.

(4) The City should begin to develop a "data warehouse" of city government-related information, as a foundation stone for developing San Antonio into a smart community.
The Community Information System initiative and an emerging coalition of GIS users are already beginning initial steps toward this. The ultimate aim should be to make every kind of digital information (within legal limitations) available through the Internet to every citizen and business in San Antonio. If San Antonio as an urban community is truly to become a "smart city," its city government should play a leader's role rather than a follower's role in this effort.

(5) The City should develop alliances with other governments in the region to provide access to services jointly, at one-stop locations.
Bexar County and the state of Texas should be major partners in this effort, but other regional special district governments should also be involved. The Alamo Area Council of Governments could play an important role in facilitating such alliances on a metropolitan basis.
Scattered courtesy links from one agency's web site to another are not sufficient to accomplish this objective. As the local leader in using kiosks for service delivery, the City should explore the potential for expanding the scope of services accessible through the kiosks to include overlying governments through intergovernmental contracts.

(1) The City should make a strong, conscious and deliberate commitment to the following principles for making City information and services available electronically:
As much public information as possible should be accessible digitally over the Internet, except as prohibited by law.
Information should be provided electronically with attention to cross-platform and backward compatibility.
Access to city information and electronic services should be geographically accessible within a half-hour walk to everyone in the City.
Information and services provided electronically should be free or affordable.
Information and electronic services should be fully accessible to those with disabilities.
Access to electronic information must be anonymous, to protect individual privacy.
The availability of electronic information and services must be reinforced by effective marketing and communication.
Access to electronic information and services must be supported by effective training, citizen education and support.
Basic information about the city and city services should be available bilingually.

(2) The City should develop a broad range initiative on technological literacy, to ensure that the community does not become split into information "haves" and "have-nots." This initiative should include alliances for implementation with the school systems and the Alamo Community College District.
This is the most important social issue presented by the explosion of information technology. As the dominant general-purpose local government, the City must face the issue squarely and comprehensively.
Some illustrations of possible elements of this initiative might include:
Equipping City literacy centers with web access and hands-on classes for computer literacy, web page development, etc.
Developing a coordinated effort to recycle older computers and modems for those without funds to purchase new equipment.
Establishing summer workshops at city recreation centers for students to create their own web pages and maintain their own email accounts.
Instituting means for access by those without home computers, in all parts of the city and at all hours.
Developing mechanisms to spread Web TV, to enable people to get on the web and communicate by email.
Developing special initiatives for the elderly - those least likely to have been exposed to computers, and most likely to suffer for it. Equip senior citizen centers with modems, email and web access.
Alliances with other agencies should emphasize providing citizen education and access, especially in parts of the city with low rates of home PC ownership.

(3) The City urgently needs to begin to manage its overall presence on the web by developing and applying common standards to the design and implementation of its departmental web pages.
This management should focus on general standards for departmental web pages, and on ensuring a common look-and-feel for these pages as parts of a single unified web site. It should not constrain the responsible departments in determining the kinds of information which citizens may find useful, or their priorities in developing new materials and applications for their pages.
These standards should address issues such as:
Functionality on multiple platforms and with backwards compatibility.
Format and layout - particularly the design of navigation links, both within departmental pages and between departments. Users should not have to constantly relearn a unique and different format for every department.
Minimum content requirements and format standards for common generic types of materials (e.g., the agendas of boards and advisory committees supported by various departments, or calendars of programs and events sponsored by a department).
Requirements for the periodic updating of information which changes regularly, and standards for periodic review and updating of information which changes only occasionally.
Implementation of this recommendation will probably require an interdepartmental staff effort to develop the required standards in the form of some kind of "style manual." It will also require a training program for every department's designated webmaster to educate them in the standards, and monitoring and technical assistance to individual departments.
The task force believes that the essential perspective which should govern this management is that of the Community Relations Department. Therefore we recommend that the primary responsibility for this management function should be assigned to that department. Additional resources may also be necessary for a complementary role of technical support by the Information Services Department.

(4) The City should maintain at least one general e-mail address for citizen information, inquiries, and requests for service in every City department. The availability of this service should be advertised on each department's web page and through other community education programs.
Implementation of this recommendation will require the development and administration of appropriate protocols to log messages, route them to an appropriate respondent, and track and record responses. Most important, it will require adequate resources (personnel and training) for every department to meet this commitment to a consistent standard of response quality.

(5) The City should develop a coherent policy to prioritize the resources for making additional documents, directories, schedules and other basic materials available through departments' web pages.
Clearly, the volume of material which could be made available in electronic form far exceeds the City's available resources to do so. Therefore this effort should be informed by a deliberate program of research and dialogue with citizens and other organizations in the community. This should be conducted as part of the planning recommended in #1 above, under Services and Transactions.

(1) The City should use its general purpose web site deliberately to project the image of a technologically advanced community.
This means that the City should commit the resources to develop and maintain its web site as a premier, state-of-the-art example of the use of the Internet by a municipal government. "State of the art" includes the clarity and ease of navigation and the aesthetics of page layout, as well as the substantive content of the site. It also means using "bells and whistles" - e.g., sound and animation - to enhance the site appropriately, while maintaining the requirements of cross-platform operability and backward compatibility. Having a city government that is seen to be at the state of this art - in the range of services and transactions that are supported electronically, and in the scope and quality of the information available to citizens - is a subtle but important support to all of the City's other economic development efforts.

(2) The City should periodically convene ad hoc working groups to develop information technology initiatives to support particular target industries. These should focus on defining the City's most effective role in using IT to advance the local industry, and on developing an appropriate division of labor between the City, private sector interests and other agencies that may be involved.
For example, in the tourism industry... The City should not duplicate or attempt to compete with the private sector in marketing their attractions through its web site or the Convention and Visitors Bureau's specialized web site. But the City must be proactive in making the best information available about facilities that are owned and operated by the City and events that are sponsored by the City - both in its own efforts and for use by others. The City should also consider how information under its control - e.g., about upcoming conventions and events - can best be made available for use by others in the industry.
For example, in the development of an Inland Port... The City should consider how its effort to develop telecommunications infrastructure (as recommended by the SATNET task force) can best support the development of a "virtual port" in cooperation with the Free Trade Alliance, the Greater Kelly Development Corporation, and GKDC's tenants at the redeveloped Kelly AFB. It should also consider how electronic links between the city government and other trade-related agencies, institutions and businesses can best be orchestrated to facilitate this effort.
For example, in the roll out of digital broadcasting... The City should consider: how it can use interactive television to extend interactive services beyond the reach of computer networks; how it can use it for City staff training, employee orientation and continuing professional development (using broadcast to deliver curriculum content and text/form return from computers as the response and evaluation mechanism); how it can support live "field trips" in which students can ask questions and access data to enhance their observations and test their conclusions; and how interactive access can be used to enhance marketing efforts in tourism, as a medical destination, and in general economic development. We believe that San Antonio has a "window of opportunity" to develop new market niches by pioneering the application of digital broadcasting to improve traditional fields.

This task force was not charged to develop specific budget recommendations in the form required by the City's regular budget process. However, we believe the following observations and recommendations are in order, as the logical extension of our recommendations above.
(1) The City needs to budget additional funds to manage the City's overall presence on the web. The Community Relations Department is the most logical department to undertake this role, with appropriate support from the Information Services Department.
This includes the "next generation" planning, to follow-up from the Community Link Action Plan, and the development and administration of web page standards as discussed above. While some additional "hard core" General Fund budget appropriation is necessary for these purposes, some part of the cost of this management might also be recovered through overhead charges to departments funded by special revenue and enterprise funds.

(2) The City needs to commit the resources to adequately support e-mail communication between citizens and the city government. This includes adequate trained personnel to properly serve at least one general e-mail address in each department for information, complaints and service requests. It also includes the development and administration of appropriate protocols to log messages, route them to an appropriate respondent, track and record responses and outcomes.
Once again, we believe the essential perspective which should govern the implementation of this recommendation is that of the Community Relations Department, with training and technical support by ISD.

(3) The City needs to commit the resources to maintain a state of the art presence on the web, and to use information technology in partnership with other agencies to foster the city's economic development.
This includes a regular budget commitment for enhancement of the City's overall web site and for the development of additional materials to be made available through departments' web pages. It also includes support for the kinds of initiatives discussed above, involving collaboration between the City and other public and private sector entities.

(4) The City should fund a systematic "grantsmanship" effort to pursue available grant funds for information technology. This effort should emphasize partnerships and networking between the city government and other community agencies.
The volume and the variety of potential grant funds in this area has grown almost as explosively as the Internet itself. Potential sources range from the National Information Infrastructure programs and retention grants from the Department of Education (for programs of computer accessibility and training) to the state's Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund and the Texas Water Development Board (for mapping related to natural resources), to various private foundations. While some individual departments (notably the Library) have been aggressive in pursuing such opportunities, the City as a whole simply does not "have its act together" in this respect.
To be successful in this competitive grant environment, a premium must be placed on proposals which will benefit the San Antonio community in a wider sense, rather than just the municipal government as an institutional entity. Partnerships and networking are the order of the day among potential funding agencies. Therefore proposals which involve cooperation with school districts, colleges and universities, health care agencies and other entities targeted by the federal and state governments should be emphasized. Special attention should also be paid to addressing the issues of the "democratization of information," and preventing a possible split in the community between information "haves" and "have-nots."

(5) The City should substantially increase the resources devoted to staff training in support of information technology efforts.
The shortage of trained staff in functional line departments is perhaps the most fundamental obstacle to the City's making full use of the technology which is available now. While ISD has impressive facilities and offers a good range of training programs, more resources need to be allocated to free-up the time of targeted staff to take advantage of the training which is available to them.

This task force was charged to make recommendations on how the city government should use information technology in services and transactions with citizens, in delivering information and involving citizens in local government, and in marketing the city to support its economic development. Our recommendations above address all of these issues. However, the task force also believes that the following recommendations are appropriate, to outline some "next steps," or the tasks that remain ahead of us.

(1) Beyond a project internal to the city government, a deliberate and collaborative community-wide effort is needed to transform San Antonio as a community into a truly "Smart City." This must involve the business community, educational systems and nonprofit sectors, alongside the City and other local governments.
The city government has an essential role to play in this effort, by using information technology to the best possible advantage in its own service delivery and interactions with citizens. A "smart city" has a smart city government - and one that is seen to be that by the rest of the world. It also has the infrastructure to support telecommunications and networking between and among the city government and the community's schools, universities, hospitals, research institutions and libraries. But, most importantly, a truly Smart City uses these tools to develop new opportunities and to form new collaborations which benefit the entire community.

(2) The Mayor and City Council need to become strong and consistent advocates of this cause.
No one else is in a position of leadership to marshal the entire community in what must become a community-wide effort. Beyond their essential support for recommendations involving the city government (e.g., budget priorities for personnel and training), they must take the lead in marketing and recruiting to broaden this effort into a community-wide undertaking.

(3) The City Council should appoint a "next generation" task force as an official city body charged to follow-up from both this effort and the SATNET task force, and to make San Antonio into a Smart City within five years.
This task force should develop a "Technology Implementation Roadmap," encompassing such initiatives as the Community Information System and the emerging GIS users' consortium, as well as the City's own "next generation" Community Link Action Plan. It should also develop funding strategies and pilot projects to demonstrate implementation.
To be successful, this task force must be both broad-based and high level. It must include decision makers from the private sector, nonprofit institutions and other public sector agencies, as well as leaders from local "user communities." It also must be supported by adequate resources, contributed by both the public and private sectors.

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