Two Mahoning Valley government collaboration projects are receiving funding to fulfill the proposals designed to improve government efficiency and effectiveness.
Thursday's announcement that the proposals finished first and third among nine finalists competing for a share of $300,000 was met with enthusiasm and relief after weeks of campaigning and waiting for the votes to be counted and winners announced.
''This is really an incredible experience,'' said Tony Paglia, the Regional Chamber's vice president of government affairs. ''Everyone worked together. This Valley really pulled together like I've never see before.''
The Mahoning River Corridor Initiative finished first and will receive $57,451, and the Mahoning/Youngstown Regional Information System received the third-highest number of votes will receive $120,000.
Finishing second was a proposal to create a regional fire district in parts of Lorain and Cuyahoga counties.
The three EfficientGovNow projects are being funded through grants from the Fund for Our Economic Future.
EfficientGovNow by the numbers:
65 Abstracts submitted.
294 Government entitites partnering.
14 of 16 counties represented.
45 partnerships invited to submit proposals.
39 proposals that met EfficientGovNow criteria.
9 finalists selected.
13,483 qualified votes accepted.
The Mahoning River Corridor project will receive $57,451 to develop an interactive Web site that will feature information about sites available for economic development.
The communities - Lowellville, Struthers, Campbell, Youngstown, Girard, McDonald, Niles, Warren and Newton Falls - would share the matching funds to start the project and then, the costs of managing the site.
''The strength was that this involved nine communities in two counties,'' said Dan Mamula, corridor initiative manager. ''That was the key, we spread across the region better.''
The Mahoning/Youngstown Regional Information System (MYRIS) will receive $120,000 to create a high-speed connection for local governments to access information to help law enforcement agencies, disaster recovery and information technology support.
The participating communities/agencies are the Mahoning County Auditor's Office, Youngstown, Boardman, Austintown and Canfield.
Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, who is spearheading the MYRIS effort, said he sees this as the first step to branch out to the rest of Mahoning County. It's going to be included in a broadband collaborative effort based in Cleveland called One Community, which is working to join communities in seeking millions in economic stimulus dollars for broadband connectivity.
Sciortino said he's pleased with MRYIS' selection
''We're ready to go,'' he said. ''We just need to know when money is coming in to get the project going.''
David Abbott, chairman of the Fund for Our Economic Future, called the competition am ''interesting exercise in democracy,'' especially at the grassroots level.
Locally, Regional Chamber members, nonprofit groups, local governments and others efforted to spread the word.
The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative coordinated efforts to get votes at summer festivals, neighborhood meetings, shopping and grocery stores and set up a booth at the Eastwood Mall, said MVOC executive director Kirk Noden.
The group was able to get about 1,500 ballots.
''Winning those awards, it's not everything, but it's a great way to create a sense of hope, enthusiasm, excitement about the kinds of innovation that is happening in the Valley,'' Noden said.
''It's also really exciting we can come together in the Valley, that grassroots can come together with the chamber to work on a project like this,'' Noden said. ''That in itself is really positive.''
Sixty-five project proposals were submitted covering 14 of 16 northeast Ohio counties. Thirty-nine projects met the eligibility criteria and nine were selected as finalists. Nearly 13,500 qualified votes were accepted. About 1,500 were disqualified.
''The response to EfficientGovNow by both local governments and the public demonstrates the region's support for greater government collaboration and efficiency,'' Abbott said. ''The variety of projects and the public's enthusiasm shows that opportunities for collaboration and efficiency are everywhere.''