The city of Jackson unveiled its new data portal at a press conference yesterday. Citizens will be able to obtain more information about their city and see how their government operates. Mayor Yarber said at a press conference that the project will make the government more transparent to its citizens. The video of the short press conference and a press release are posted below.
The data is downloadable and can be embedded or accessed directly through an API (Application Program Interface) to create apps or other software. The interactive platform gives citizens the ability to create charts, graphs and maps with the City’s data.
“We’re placing key information about our City here so the public can easily find what they’re seeking,” Mayor Yarber said. “The portal is a tangible milestone that showcases the work the City has been doing to ensure it becomes more transparent and accountable to its citizens.”
The portal is the result of the City’s continued collaboration with partners on the What Works Cities initiative, launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The City of Jackson was among eight cities selected nationwide for the first cohort of the initiative in 2015. The goal was to implement open data processes and policies to share internally and externally and use such data to make governmental decisions.
As part of the initiative, the City formed a data governance committee, enacted Open Data legislation and completed inventory of the City's data.
The City also has committed to a performance management program that uses data and evidence to improve day-to-day operations and departmental decision making. Under the program, goals and outcome measures are defined for each department. Mayor Yarber holds bi-weekly meetings with City directors to discuss performance, challenges to achieving goals and potential solutions.
The mission of What Works Cities is to elevate and accelerate cities use of data and evidence to engage citizens, make government more effective and improve people’s lives. The consortium of leading organizations that has been assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide program support includes:
● Results for America;
● Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University;
● Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School;
● Sunlight Foundation;
● The Behavioral Insights Team
The City of Jackson has worked with the Sunlight Foundation to implement open data practices and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to launch the performance management program.
Kingfish note: Here is some of the data available on the website:
Thalia Mara revenue (Although it lists the same revenue for each month)
Business licenses issued in 2015
Major crimes by month (It only states changes in terms of percentage, no actual numbers)