Blackbox Special Report

Johns Creek embraces civic transparency



JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – In Appen News Media’s foray into civic transparency among North Fulton’s cities, it was not our intent to make it a comparative analysis and rank the cities. But having said that, we would be remiss to ignore the steps Johns Creek has taken.

Our survey shows that Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton have all taken initiatives toward transparency in conducting civic business. They would compare favorably, we believe, with almost any city in Georgia.

In one noted area — live streaming and video recording council meetings — Johns Creek was late to the dance. But when it showed up, it had the best dress.

Few cities have tackled transparency with the same innovation, anticipation and eagerness to embrace new technology the way Johns Creek has.

Every North Fulton city has a website, but Johns Creek has done more to make its site more interactive than any we have seen.

Although among the last of the major north Fulton cities to do so, its live-streaming of City Council meetings has no equal in quality and production. This not only includes getting its agendas posted on Fridays before Monday council meetings, but the complete agenda package with supporting documents, charts and maps are bookmarked in the agenda.

By Tuesday noon the agenda report is online with results. Meeting videos are available going back 2 years.

Its camera work is the most sophisticated in North Fulton, with an onsite cameraman and cameras that can give close-ups of all councilmembers and those who address the council.

Johns Creek boasts the most professional video system employed for council meetings, workshops, town hall meetings, Planning Commission, ZBA and almost any other meeting inside City Hall.

It was the first city in Georgia to embrace the traffic app WAZE and share its information with the app to bring the most accurate and up-to-date traffic information on its own app.

Other apps allow residents to:

• Report accidents, road hazards, code enforcement violations as they spot them on the road.

• Chart zoning projects in the city and any updates

• View neighborhood maps

• View maps denoting upcoming construction projects or activity

It is leading North Fulton with its Intelligent Traffic System (Although Alpharetta is hard at work on this). The ITS is monitoring traffic in real time with both human and computer programs that are continuously updating its data.

Johns Creek has shown the most enthusiasm for getting information to residents in a timely fashion over a broad spectrum of information streams.

No North Fulton city does a bad job with its transparency, but Johns Creek is a step ahead of the pack .. for now.

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