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Punta Gorda Wins Second Place in Digital Cities Awards

This year, four Florida cities, including Punta Gorda, were recognized for their innovative efforts and technology projects, impacting residents communitywide.

a digital city
Last week, Government Technology* shared its annual list of Digital Cities winners, which included four Florida cities. Today’s story is the third of four highlighting each city’s achievements. Stay tuned to Industry Insider — Florida for the other city coming this week.

Continuing this year’s list is Punta Gorda, which won second place in the up to 75,000 population category.

Punta Gorda offers a great example of how to use technology to deal with and recover from a disaster. As the city’s 2023 fiscal year kicked off, a Category 5 hurricane struck the city, setting the tech agenda for the next several months. Staff spun up networks from trailers and, because of downed fiber, worked with low bandwidth initially as the city developed apps for gathering data about damaged buildings and seawalls, debris and signs.

Communication turned into a prime focus. The city’s tech workforce implemented mobile technologies and figured out how to combine field reports from multiple sources. Crews relied on smartphones and tablets as Punta Gorda got back on its feet, with services returning in stages, and city hall relying heavily on its GIS tools.

After the storm, permit requests quadrupled, leading to overcrowding and chaos in the building department. The city deployed a QLess management and appointment scheduling system to ease those pressures, giving staff more control over their workdays and more time to focus on permitting instead of crowd control.

*Government Technology is a sister publication of Industry Insider — Florida, and their parent company is e.Republic.


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