Transform Your Community Through Open Data
by Shylo Bisnett, on December 8, 2020 at 8:00 AM
When you combine key information with the right partner, real change is possible.
When communities are able to collect data in a timely fashion, local leaders increasingly respond by developing useful display dashboards that can be accessed by the public. Whether the display details the location of snow plows after a storm or perhaps a city’s progress on its master plan, information wants to be free—and citizens are hungry for it.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we’re seeing municipalities sharing extensive data regarding public health. Many communities, counties, and states offer daily updates about case numbers, tests, and positivity rates. Some even publish information gleaned from contact-tracing efforts.
A particularly helpful tool for determining the risk in certain types of situations is the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool. This effort, a collaborative project between the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and a private data-science firm, allows users to select their location and see what the likelihood that a at least one person at that event will have an active COVID-19 infection. Local officials can also use tools like these, developed in-house or through the assistance of public-private partnerships, to craft policies and communicate them to the general public. Using models such as the GIT/Stanford tool, local governments can constantly refine COVID-era regulations around indoor dining/bar activity, allowable events, or even stay-at-home orders.
Transparency Outside of Crisis
Beyond COVID, it’s important to consider the role of transparency of data in your municipality. The non-partisan and not-for-profit organization, Sunlight Foundation, champions open data access at all levels of government. Their work around local government and data accessibility revolves around reducing corruption in areas such as contracting and resource allocation, increasing the public’s trust in leaders, and fostering a more participatory system.
All these efforts begin with digitization of data. At Localgov, we’re eager to help municipalities embrace the move to an all-digital platform. We help taxpayers remit payments securely online and save municipalities time, money, and hassle. But more than that, we’re able to give communities a look at what tax data really means so they can ask tough questions and respond effectively. Are non-compliant taxpayers concentrated in certain neighborhoods or industries? Maybe you need more targeted communications or one-on-one help for taxpayers/
Count on Localgov for Customer Service
Issues such as taxpayer education and ongoing customer service can be very difficult for smaller municipalities to accommodate. That’s where our Localgov customer service team can help. Our team of product experts works directly with the taxpayer, answers all questions, and works hard to help them get up-to-date with taxes. We’re happy to take that responsibility so you can shift your resources toward developing or executing programs that more broadly benefit the taxpayer.
We’d love to learn more about how our Localgov team can help speed your path toward digitization, while also taking over some of the pesky customer-service issues plaguing your staff. Let's talk.