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County Receives a Record Sixteen NACo Awards for Innovation in County Government

DATE: May 15, 2017
CONTACT: Ric Barrick, Office of Public Communications
PHONE: 954-357-8541

- Broward County has won 16 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), more than any previous year. The annual awards recognize innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents in a variety of areas. Broward County was recognized specifically for initiatives to promote environmental preservation and conservation; services to help customers connect with their County quicker, easier and more efficiently, including online; programs to help pets and persons experiencing homelessness; and internal activities related to purchasing, risk management and employee communications.

"We are proud to be recognized for being innovative and effective in delivering services to our community," said County Administrator Bertha Henry. "County agencies work hard every day to deliver their best to our residents, businesses and visitors." The award-winning programs, all services of the Broward County Commission, include:

Getting the Most From Your Employee Benefits (Human Resources Division)
The Human Resources Division recognized that employees needed more information than their traditional annual open enrollment meeting typically provided on the County's High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). Employees needed an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of an HDHP to effectively use it. Staff created a "Using Your HDHP Workshop" to provide guidance on how to find quality care at lower out of pocket costs, how to integrate the use of County-funded Health Savings Accounts, and how to save on health and pharmacy costs. Employee turnout was high, feedback was positive and additional presentations were requested.

Life in the Fast Lane (Libraries Division)
Most Broward County library locations had existing self-checkout stations but they were not in prominent locations, had no signage and were not marketed. Staff rebranded the existing stations as "Fast Lane" stations, reconfigured library circulation desks to accommodate more self-checkout stations, and added more stations where needed. A campaign to encourage self-checkout included a logo, custom floor mats, banners, staff lanyards and a splash screen logo on station computers. The first Fast Lane locations debuted in April 2016 and by December there were 26 locations. Nine months in, Libraries began to show a marked increase in self-checked library materials, thus allowing circulation desk staff to focus on assisting more library patrons.

Planning for a Resilient Community (Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division)
Broward County's commitment to long-term sustainability includes enhancing community resilience to ensure a viable future for generations to come. The County has invested heavily in resources to address climate change. The program "Planning Beyond the Status Quo to Build Resilience" is built on a framework of supportive policies that empower stakeholders with information, and encourage ownership of resilient design decisions across all County agencies. The implementation phase includes development of resiliency standards and a strategy for investments. The program demonstrates a successful process for intergovernmental cooperation to address hazards and future environmental conditions, which helps create policy that effectively increases community resilience. Program successes include a more secure water supply, guidance for improved drainage design, collaboration to address interconnected vulnerabilities, and a basis for regional standards for coastal infrastructure.

"Smart" Irrigation to Save Water (Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division)
Broward's NatureScape Irrigation Service (NIS) strives to reduce urban water consumption and improve surface water quality through efficient irrigation and environmentally-friendly landscape practices. With irrigation accounting for 57 percent of total water use (150 million gallons per day) in Broward County, it is imperative that we address irrigation efficiency for our community's long-term resiliency and sustainability. A Smart Irrigation Technology Deployment Program was established to spur the use of "smart" control devices on municipality-owned irrigation systems. The NIS identified sites where device use is compatible with existing irrigation systems. In the first phase of the program in 2015, 72 smart devices were deployed, accounting for 29.3 million gallons per year (31 percent) in water savings. The 2016-2018 phase is slated to deploy 106 additional devices. The NIS hosted three workshops to educate municipal staff on the use of the devices, which were attended by 120 municipal irrigation professionals.

Neighborhood Water Challenge (Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division)
The Neighborhood Water Challenge, sponsored by the Broward Water Partnership, was a campaign designed to engage the public in indoor water conservation. The campaign asked people to save water and teach others how to save water. Winners received cash and prizes. The Broward Water Partnership promotes indoor water conservation through education and outreach, free water saving devices and high efficiency toilet rebates. The Challenge generated hundreds of applicants, resulted in significant social media activity, and increased overall participation in Broward's broader water conservation programs. It helped reinforce resident knowledge and awareness of water conservation, and reduced water demand at the end of the drier season, a peak water use period.

Mapping Green Infrastructure (Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division)
The Green Infrastructure Map Series is an innovative tool to measure and compare community resilience by looking at such factors as solar installations, light at night pollution, water reuse capacity and "food deserts" (places where there is little access to healthy fresh food), in addition to more traditional  factors such as urban forests, natural lands, parks and greenways, coastal dunes and sea turtle habitats. The goal is to identify focus areas and opportunities for collaboration. The maps have helped Broward advance policies that serve as a guide for the County's 31 municipalities and the greater South Florida region, engage new audiences, connect previously isolated stakeholders and  develop grant applications to expand existing programs.

The Artificial Reef Partnership (Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division)
Broward County has a long history of creating and deploying artificial reefs, having created over 200 of them since the early 1990s, using materials such as derelict vessels, large ships, limestone boulders and concrete modules. Creating an artificial reef is an expensive process that includes purchasing, cleaning, preparing and deploying the materials. Rigid engineering and environmental requirements add to the costs, which have increased in recent years. Grant funding covers only a fraction of the cost. The Broward County Artificial Reef Partnership was formed to address this financial challenge. The partnership is a collaboration with Shipwreck Park, Inc., a 501c3 foundation that can solicit funding from private donors and public granting entities.

Expansion of Electronically-Recorded Documents Project (Records, Taxes, and Treasury Division and Enterprise Technology Services)
This environmentally-friendly project to allow organizations to electronically submit official documents to Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division for recording was implemented at a single location, then quickly expanded to seven. Plans are to expand it to all 31 municipalities and the two hospital districts. Internet-based software is installed on the client's workstation, and the client uses it to submit documents for recording to the County online. After the County has processed the documents, the client can recall them with the recording data included. The new process reduces recording processing time, saving clients time and money. Documents submitted before 4:30PM are guaranteed same-day recording. Seventy-two percent of all documents are now being electronically recorded. The goal is 80 percent.

"Dynamic" Property Tax Bills (Records, Taxes and Treasury Division)
Broward County's Records, Taxes and Treasury Division has a mobile-friendly website that offers convenient access to a property owner's property tax account. Missing was an easy and accurate way from taxpayers to navigate from their property tax bill to the website via mobile device. The solution was a dynamic QR (quick response) code on the tax bill. A unique QR code is printed on each tax bill as is produced. Taxpayers can then scan the QR code from their tax bill, using one of several QR code reader mobile apps available, and access their account for online payment. This "go green" initiative cost nothing to implement, and saves property owners time and money. It also reduces payment errors and payment delays, which are costly for the County to research and resolve.

Broward County Animal Care WebPortal Program (Animal Care and Adoption Division)
Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division developed an innovative and uniquely designed web-based application that provides Broward County residents easy access to the County's free or no-cost pet sterilization services. Through WebPortal, residents can register and apply to receive vouchers for spay/neuter services for both owned pets and feral/community cats. Once approved, vouchers are immediately generated, can be printed right away and redeemed at any of the veterinarian hospitals listed on the Animal Care website. Since its launch in April 2016, more than 9,000 vouchers have been issued, and over 5,000 pets have been spay and neutered.

On Track With Procurement (Purchasing Division and Public Works)
The procurement tracking system, "ProcureTrack," was developed for and by Broward County's Purchasing Division in collaboration with the Public Works Department.  It is an automated scheduling, notification and workflow system to keep County procurements on track.  With ProcureTrack, it's easy to manage the tasks, activities and timelines of a project, from the solicitation process to the project phase, and to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for process or project management improvements to prevent unnecessary delays.

Paratransit Virtual Desktop (Transportation Department and Enterprise Technology Services)
A flexible, secure and seamless approach in the County's ParaTransit Information Technology (IT) environment is critical to its success. Utilizing a centralized personal computing system, such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology, places all the critical personal computer components, such as the central processor, storage, memory and networking, into one consolidated system. As a result, the County was able to produce a superior end user experience in which users witness and control their personal computer through a terminal, instead of a standard PC, thus reducing the risk of unauthorized transfer of classified information from a computer or datacenter.  The VDI technology also allows IT personnel to troubleshoot and resolve issues, perform upgrades and monitor all end user systems remotely from a centralized location, reducing travel and time while saving money. 

Do You Know Your Values? (Risk Management Division, Safety and Occupational Health)
Broward County implemented a program to capture, maintain and update accurate values of County structures, contents and electronic data equipment for its property insurance program. Accurate values are necessary for the County to secure the maximum property insurance coverage amount at the minimum premium expense. This project involved the purchase of an additional software module in the Risk Management Information System, followed by an effort to work with staff across the County to ensure accurate values were collected on all agency property. Broward County Risk Management continues to focus on improvements in this area, which has resulted in savings of more than $46 million since the program was initiated.
Tracking Aerial Work Platforms (Risk Management Division)
Risk Management's Safety and Occupational Health group is tasked with safety, training and maintenance of the County's aerial work platforms. Broward County owns more than 80 of the high risk platforms. Instead of purchasing a commercially available software, staff identified a way to modify their existing Management Information System application to track these assets. There were no additional capital expense and the result is better management of the equipment, and the risks associated with it.

Personnel Management through Metrics (Risk Management Division)
Broward's workers' compensation program is self-administered and self-insured and covers approximately 21,000 employees and volunteers for the County, several of the Constitutional Officers and other entities. The Personnel Management through Metrics Program was initiated in December 2012, with the goal of substantially improving productivity and quality of service being provided to Risk Management Division stakeholders.  The number of staff assigned to workers' compensation claims has been reduced by 40 percent (from 10 to six employees) since implementation. The Fiscal Year 2017 workers' compensation loss fund is expected to end up over $1 million under budget. Initiatives have saved over $17 million in current and future costs. 

Coffee and Conversation with a Librarian (Libraries Division)
Coffee and Conversation with a Librarian is a weekly program offered at Broward County's Main Library to build bridges with persons in the community experiencing homelessness. It offers an opportunity for these individuals and other library customers to informally meet with a librarian and social service providers to discuss topics or concerns over a cup of coffee. This creative program creates a safe and comfortable place to share information and get assistance. It reaches a traditionally underserved population in a non-traditional way by creating a judgement-free, informal atmosphere where everyone is treated equally and with dignity. It fills a gap in community services by working with attendees in small groups and one-on-one to build trust and help with issues of importance. The program also allows the library to form valuable community partnerships.

About National Association of Counties
The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America's 3,069 county governments.  Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public's understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  Learn more at