Sugar Land, TX News (July 14, 2014) - The Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers recently named Sugar Land’s citizen newsletter and website as the best in Texas.
Since its inception in 2002, the TAMI awards have served to recognize outstanding municipal government achievements in communications, marketing, and constituent relationships. The program also serves as an important forum for exchanging information and ideas among government professionals.
Judges credited Sugar Land Today and the City’s website as benchmarks for public education and citizen engagement.
Sugar Land Today is an informative newsletter that provides important news and an overview of the many services and programs the City provides its residents. The quarterly newsletter is mailed to all residents and businesses within the city limits, a distribution of approximately 34,000 addresses.
Articles cover important City issues such as flood control, hurricane preparedness, updates on city road projects, finances, major capital investment projects and updates, crime prevention initiatives, partnerships with other municipalities and government agencies, as well as upcoming events, public meetings, and parks and recreation activities.
During the past year, the City launched a new website, one that provides improved tools for citizen engagement, mobile technology, and access for people with special needs. In addition, an updated design and layout enhances the look and improves access to content.
As part of the site’s development, citizens were asked to participate in website focus groups, and a steering committee comprised of stakeholders was created to ensure the site met the needs of web visitors. The goal was to have the website redesign guided by broad citizen feedback, employee input, and industry best-practices.
Among its many improvements, the new version of the website features:
- website content that is automatically compatible for mobile browsing in platforms such as tablets, iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys;
- a customized, branded mobile application called MySL that is available for both iOS (via App Store) and Android (GooglePlay) platforms at www.sugarlandtx.gov/apps;
- an automated email and text message notification system that allows citizens to subscribe to different topics and groups to receive regular updates; and
- an application that gives residents the ability to request specific services like road repairs or animal control services and track the government’s response to their service request
The TAMI awards program included more than 300 entries this year. In addition to peer recognition fostered by the TAMI awards, the process allows participating members to learn more about what best practices are at work in Texas.
The Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers was developed as a result of the increasingly complex role of public information in municipal government. When organized in 1974, only a handful of Texas cities employed professional communications staffs. Today, TAMIO has a growing number of public information specialists serving small communities as well as urban centers.