Immunization is an important public health issue that the County Health Department works with schools to promote. While State law requires that school’s uphold the “first day exclusion policy”, most school districts don’t do so for fear of decreasing their enrollment numbers, thus potentially decreasing their per-pupil-funding from the State.
In preparing to share more data with the public, policies and procedures are essential to consistent, appropriate release of data. Many cities have established open data policies, but reviews of these policies suggest that they frequently contain boiler-plate language that doesn't fit the local context, or the specific obstacles that face staff.
Anonymous tips are an important information source for police in investigating crimes. While they offer a tip hotline for voice calls, they haven't pursued other common channels of communication as opportunities for tips. This requires considering appropriate technology for the audience and simple methods for submission. Furthermore, the process for tips submission should be considered in the context of police relations with the public.
JATA provides bus service on eight routes throughout the city. Routes and schedules are printed and distributed on the buses, but there has been little effort to share this information through newer media channels. As a result, people don't have the basic information they need to ride the bus. This is an obvious first step towards JATAs goal of engaging riders and potential riders.
Construction starting in the fall of 2014 will be a centerpiece of downtown for about 6 months as the main street is torn up for a sewer project. The City hopes to turn the traditional view of street construction on its head by inviting people to see the guts of our community and learn how they are maintained in a way that draws people to the downtown.
The City holds extensive data that the public owns but never sees. Brownfield sites, road construction projects, property information, and polling locations all help citizens better understand their community, especially when presented via maps. While it isn't intentionally hidden, the City doesn't provide a convenient window for public consumption and manipulation of the data.
The City of Jackson subscribes to Blackboard Connect, a mass notification system with a variety of mechanisms for distributing and collecting information from citizens. Emergency notifications, personalized community updates ,and citizen polling and feedback are available for text, phone, and email channels. Yet few City departments utilize this product for citizen interaction.
The Neighborhood & Economic Operations (NEO) Department maintains extensive information on property in the City, which can be used to explain development issues and activities like blight and demolition. However, the current data storage tool does is not designed to display neighborhood-level data, or support narratives for community decisions.
The Master Plan guides community development efforts over a long period (5-10 years). The City of Jackson is working with a planning firm to update the Master Plan, which includes collecting input from residents, businesses, and other stakeholders on their concerns, goals, and vision for the city.
Like the grave sites themselves, cemetery records are fascinating historical artifacts that are a little scary to investigate. Currently, an index card filing system tracks ownership and occupancy of graves, along with grave sites from the mid 1800s penciled into log books. This system requires extensive time from staff to locate information for families and genealogists.