In about two months, Macon residents will have new ways to keep tabs on what city government is doing -- and on when the next bus will arrive.
Jessica Lord and Zach Williams, two of the three fellows assigned to Macon in the yearlong Code for America program, made a follow-up visit this week to show city officials prototypes of the online applications they’re developing for local use. Nick Doiron, the third fellow, paid a visit in July.
Code for America, based in San Francisco, gives fellowships to people specializing in interactive media and various urban issues, then assigns them to specific cities. The men and women work for a year on ways to make local government more interactive and accessible for residents through web-based applications.
Macon’s participation is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Doiron, Lord and Williams spent five weeks here early this year, meeting with officials and residents, gathering suggestions and information to turn into technology applications for easier government access.
Now those talks are about to turn into several practical tools for the public.
One is a website that allows residents to monitor progress on use of special purpose local option sales tax money, Lord said.
Bibb County voters approved a SPLOST last November that’s expected to bring in $190 million over six years, funding a long list of projects for the city and county. The website that Code for America fellows plan to set up will allow tracking of those project schedules, what’s been spent on them, their location and other details, Lord said.
Macon’s Information Technology staff are looking at ways to mesh Macon’s SPLOST information with that from Bibb County, mayoral spokesman Chris Floore said. Both governments are doing plenty of projects, so they’re working on combining information from both governments in one website, he said.
There are Code for America fellows working in eight cities this year, and teams can adapt the creations made for one locale to fit their own target city.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.