County Web site comes in second in national contest |

County Web site comes in second in national contest

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Earlier this year, Larry Weckerle entered the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Web site in a nationwide contest “just to get a gauge as to the services we are providing.”

The site ranks between those run by governments in Seattle, Wash. and San Jose, Calif. – or, in contest parlance, No. 2 of the 183 entered.

“I was shocked and stunned,” said Weckerle, who has been overseeing the clerk-treasurer’s Web site since it was launched. “There is a lot we want to improve on, and it gives us a lot of encouragement to get ahead.”

The contest was sponsored by Government Technology magazine and judged by the magazine and several government groups.

The clerk-treasurer’s site, at, provides information on marriage licenses, county commission actions, court calendars, voting registration and other clerk-treasurer functions. Users can download many of the forms their business requires, and the site recently began accepting payments for property taxes, water and sewer bills.

Weckerle said the goal of the site was to provide a quick, user-friendly source of information that people could access at their convenience.

“Our goal was to make sure we would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it is being used 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said.

“(The judges) said it was not the typical government web site where they had to go through department and department and department,” said Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed. “They were able to just go in and get the forms.”

Reed and Weckerle plan to accept the site’s second-place award Sept. 13 in New York. The award includes $3,000 cash.

With the recognition, Reed and Weckerle expect the site to get busier. The site has been averaging 11,700 hits a week and the contest has generated national interest.

Reed said the marriage license section already gets hits from all over the world, including Russia, Germany and Switzerland. Since the site started accepting payments two weeks ago, an estimated 300 people have wired roughly $100,000 into county coffers.

“That has been well-received, and we see that as having virtually unlimited potential for all the county offices,” said Weckerle.

“I think we’ve had people from 14 or 15 different states use that option,” said Reed. “It shows what a mobile society we are.”

More Douglas County residents are also using the site. Reed said the site got 4,000 hits during the 1998 election, when precinct returns were posted as they were confirmed.

“This will be the second go-round, and it will be interesting to see how many hits we have on election day,” she noted.