All Nevada Counties Head for the Internet

   By Steve Miller
   copyright 1996, Electric Nevada

By the end of next month, if all goes well, every one of Nevada's 17 counties will be open for business on the Internet.
Under a project sponsored by the Nevada Association of Counties and now nearing first-stage fruition, each county government will have its own home page and email connection.
Also, according to a spokesperson for the firm implementing the project, each county's assessor, recorder and treasurer databases will eventually be on-line and searchable by the public.
"See," says Nancy Howard of Governet, "what we've been doing here for the last ten years, is building a database. Over the last four years, we have already been working on a statewide basis with Nevada cities and counties and building those databases on our old proprietary system that we're currently running right now.
"So we have that information currently available. It's just not Internet-based. What we're doing now -- the next step -- [is] putting it all on the Internet to make that access even easier."
Governet, a 10-year-old government network services firm active in Nevada and Idaho, was retained for the project by the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO).
The contract, according to NACO Executive Director



Bob Hadfield, calls for Governet to assist all the counties of the state get on-line, whether or not the end-of-January timetable is met.
"You know, I say the goal is to get it on line in January, but the agreement is, essentially, to get it done," said Hadfield. "So NACO is paying that. We're not buying equipment for the counties or anything, but for the creation of those home pages, and working with them to coordinate and identify things."
Another goal, he said is to insure "some consistency in the design, so that people who are browsing the state, if you will, will not have to learn whole different formats as they go from perhaps one county to another."
A meeting with several of the smaller counties in mid-December, said Hadfield, was devoted to explaining in more detail what kind of information and images were needed from the counties to implement the home pages, and also what kinds of computer hardware will be required in the counties.
"We're not trying to dictate what service they should use," he said. "What we're trying to do is show them, demonstrate to them, what


 
is possible for them to do."
When in place, said Hadfield, the state-wide NACO network will allow quick, efficient communication between the association and its members, and also with other government entities in the state.
"We're telling them that we're not going to be mailing out a legislative bulletin, [rather] that we're going to, hopefully, be on line with the service [to be launched by] the legislature, as soon as that gets done, and that if they have this capability, they'll have access directly into that."
Hadfield said NACO intends to augment that service with special messages to the counties on matters of common interest.
To insure that even small counties that lack a local Internet services provider can have access to such information, said Howard, Governet has arranged for 1-800 service for email communication for those counties.
"This is not going to take care of all of their needs, but there is a 1-800 number where we can at least get them the access or the email system," she said. "They can attach files with their email, and they can receive information from other counties. So the communication back and forth that way will be freed up for them.
"Until




we can get the local providers in[to] these areas, at least they can get the email service at no cost to them," she said.
The completed home pages for the counties and NACO will be on a server in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Governet is a division of Automated Office Systems, Inc. and, according to Howard, the URLs for the counties will contain the AOS company's domain name.
A sample address, she said, would include "www.aosys.com/governet/" and then the Nevada county's name.
Howard says the home pages are already essentially done, and only await some final pictures and other information from the counties.
"I will actually be making a final trip throughout Nevada, visiting each one of the counties, and gathering what information -- the missing pieces -- that we [haven't yet received] here," she said. "I'll be doing that the second week in January. So we're hoping to have the whole thing up by the time the session starts."
Hadfield says that once the basic home pages are complete, individualization of the supporting pages and sections will be up to the individual counties.
"The things we suggested on a checklist for them that should be in the home page would be the commission


 
agendas, meeting notices, the pictures of the commissioners, the courthouse, [and] perhaps a map or something like that, for convenience for people who aren't familiar with the community.
"The same thing about schools; they might want to list the schools in the community, show some pictures of school activities. They might want to have




... major industries, a listing of businesses.
"They might want to have ... a listing of civic groups -- you know, Rotary, whatever. They might want to consider service requests: what kind of services they might want to offer their citizens, over the Internet -- water hookups, things like that -- anything of particular interest."


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