CITAP Program Summary
Presently, some Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) members have no, or at best, severely limited technology assets including computers, municipality-specific software programs, web sites, and Internet access. The lack of these technology tools continues to:
1) prevent small to mid-size municipalities from improving and increasing their efficiency in the daily delivery of services to its residence;
2) compete nationally and globally for potential economic development opportunities; and
3) severely limits the LMA staff from receiving and/or providing timely information to the membership.
Most rural areas are not benefiting from technology primarily because they lack the necessary resources, without much possibility in the near-term to acquire even the most basic items like a computer and Internet access. For example, without adequate technology or the financial resources to acquire it, many municipalities and their citizens are unable to participate as equal partners with other Louisiana citizens. They are left out of the dialogue for change and are unable to exert any potential influence they might have exerted collectively on decision-makers in government and the private sector. In contrast, Louisiana’s investment in technology in the classroom has resulted in the State moving from last place to being ranked in the top one-third of states in the U.S.
The LaMATS Board of Directors has identified and established a program to help municipalities with the greatest need acquire computer hardware and software, and Internet access. The Computer and Internet Technology Assistance Program (CITAP) is designed to eventually create a state/municipal-wide computer network whereby every municipality would have, among other things, equal and unlimited access to the World Wide Web, user-friendly Web site development tools, and easier access to LMA, state, federal and foundation programs and assistance. CITAP will also assist mid to large-size municipalities by serving as a clearinghouse and technical advisor on more advanced e-government applications.
The establishment of a state/municipal-wide information technology “network” is both challenging and costly. This plan will offer a range of implementation strategies, with the primary focus of using the majority of the funding resources to provide immediate assistance to small-size municipalities, identified as Phase I. With the generous financial support of the LMA Board, these information technology resources may be provided at no or limited cost to municipalities.
The stated goals of this program provide for every municipality with a need for computer technology assistance to receive a level of support from the LMA. However, in order to meet the near-term goals, the first level of assistance should address the immediate need of those municipalities who current have no, or severely limited computer and Internet capabilities.
With varying needs between municipalities, not each one will require the same level of assistance. The following identifies the 3 main levels of assistance:
1. Municipalities with no/outdated computers may receive:
One desktop computer (and necessary peripherals).
Suite of office productivity programs.
- Funding assistance for Internet and E-Mail access.
2. Municipalities with computers and Internet access, but no Web site may receive:
- Funding assistance for a specialized municipal-specific program to construct and maintain a Web site using template driven technologies.
3. Larger Municipalities with computers and Internet access, but want a Web site with Action Center (allows tracking of request for service) may receive:
- Funding assistance for a specialized municipal-specific program to construct and maintain a Web site using content management tools with action center.
- Program will be limited to no more than five municipalities for the first year (2008).
- Municipality will pay all of the upfront cost and submit a request to LMA for reimbursement of 50% or $4300 whichever is smaller. Proof of payment will be required.
- The target is Mid-Size municipalities but is not limited to others.