Capital Project Details on Display in Alpharetta, Georgia
Alpharetta, Georgia is in the middle of constructing a new arts center, repairing a swimming pool, and planning an extended greenway for biking. How much money are they spending? What’s the timeline for each project? Their Capital Projects Explorer site has details on all of that information and much more.
Original System Limits Data Transparency and Utility
On November 8th, 2016, 53 percent of voters in Fulton County decided to say yes to a T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation) referendum enabling the county to increase sales tax by 75 cents in support of transportation projects like roads, bridges, sidewalks, and traffic signals. T-SPLOST funds are now being distributed to the 13 cities in the county, based on their populations.
Before working with Socrata and using Capital Projects Explorer to track projects, Alpharetta’s councilmembers were regularly asking city staff questions about when projects were going to be finished and what stage they were at currently. The city did not have a comprehensive way to provide this information on finances and project statuses back to them nor their constituents.
New CPE Software Make Details Available and Useful to Everyone
Now, Alpharetta’s Capital Projects Explorer site allows visitors to identify which projects are funded by T-SPLOST as well as filter by project type or project stage. The details page provides in-depth descriptions of the projects, information on the budget, amount spent to date, funding source, design and construction firms involved, and anticipated completion dates.
If council members or staff are interested in doing their own analysis they can use the “Access Raw Data” link at the bottom of the application to get direct access to the underlying tabular data, visualization tools, and APIs.
Bright Future for Fulton County
Fulton County wants to bring together municipalities within the county to share information about T-SPLOST spending. These efforts to work together to communicate details plans and spending as a group are unprecedented in county history. All the mayors in the county have agreed to collaborate on deciding where the funds will be spent. Fulton County has established a Citizen Advisory board with representatives from each of the cities to help with accountability around public funds.
This Citizen Advisory board was inspired by Alpharetta’s easy transition to their new data-sharing experience for citizens and suggested making this a county-wide effort. Fulton County’s Public Works team will now use their own version of Capital Project Explorer to better monitor the status of the projects. The county’s Capital Projects Explorer site will launch this November.
Are you interested in getting your capital projects information out to the public in a more nimble, flexible, and interactive way? Contact Socrata. Our team would love to help you think through what’s possible.