A government-related group has launched a portal to help local governments in Ontario share best practices as they develop e-government strategies.

The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO)

Monday said its e-Government Centre will be available to local governments regardless of their population, geography or level of electronic service delivery experience. The site will include links to existing municipal sites, an e-government discussion forum and a document library with research information supplied by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which helped finance the project.

Andy Koopmans, the AMCTO’s executive director, said that the group hopes that visitors to the site will suggest additional material to be posted to the document library. “”We’re hoping people interested in e-government will essentially manage the site themselves,”” he said.

The portal was developed by Toronto-based IT services firm ASi Technologies Inc., which helped launch a similar portal two months ago called the Ontario Centre for Municipal Best Practices for Association of Municipalities of Ontario. “”This has more of a technology flavour to it, but in both cases we used technologies to leverage the content and get the word out,”” said Steven Desrochers, president of ASi.

AMCTO is maintaining the site on an ad-hoc basis, while the government will assist it in terms of identifying possible relevant documents. If the site takes off as hoped, AMCTO will look at assigning more dedicated resources, Koopmans said. Despite the assocation’s local focus, the site is intended to transcend jurisdictional boundaries.

“”It was a fairly conscious decision not to limit it just to municipal government but just broaden it out to include e-government in general so that people could take ideas,”” he said. “”It’s not to presume that ‘Made in Ontario’ solutions are the only ideas out there.””

Information in the site is grouped under five themes, which include citizen engagement, connectivity, online internal services, online service delivery to the public and strategies, policies and plans. If he had to add a theme, Desrochers said the site’s visitors would probably be interested in the move towards hosted applications.

“”When you talk about electronic voting and all that stuff, that’s interesting and from a business perspective it’s the right thing for the CIOs and administrative people to be looking at, but the real interest on the technology side is how you make these things come alive,”” he said. “”Municipalities, and governments in general, just don’t have the resources to be able to do all this stuff internally on a one-off basis.””

Koopmans said citizen engagement and online service delivery w

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