Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg announced recently that the city would participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities (WWC) initiative, as part of a large scale effort to help cities use data and evidence to make city government more effective in its decision-making process. The city of Charleston is one of more than 200 cities in 48 states participating in the initiative. Charleston will be able to work with WWC technical experts to build data bases that help it address its building capacity, to address such things as housing affordability and how it handles contracting of services. Arlington TX, Fort Collins, CO, Memphis TN, and Sioux Falls SD were also newly selected to participate in the initiative.
“We are so proud to have been selected as a Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works city,” said Mayor Tecklenburg. “This initiative will connect us to experts at the Harvard Government Performance Lab and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to help us use data and evidence to improve our city services, inform our decision-making and engage our residents.”
In conjunction with a consortium of expert partners, Charleston will be able to find better ways to evaluate the effectiveness of its programs and improve performance of how best to use its resources to serve the residents of Charleston. The goal is to address a range of social issues such as public safety and affordable housing. The city will also develop more effective performance management programs to establish, monitor and keep citizens aware of progress being made to meet the goals established by city government. The first project to be focused on by Charleston city officials will be the effectiveness of programs to provide more affordable housing to its residents.
In conjunction with these priorities, the City Council recently approved requirements to allow for more workforce housing for those individuals earning up to 80 percent of the area median salary. The plan sets requirements to allow new developments to either reserve 25 percent of their floor plans for middle income tenants or have the option to pay a $5.10 fee per square foot to the city to help provide its own affordable housing.
In addition, Charleston will focus on managing contracts and providing more accountability to its citizens about how this is done, and any progress that is made. The city will look at how to improve the quality of contracted garbage collection services initially, but will extend this evaluation to other contracted services provided to the city with the assistance of WWC data experts.
Source: “Charleston selected to join national What Works Cities initiative,” lowcountrybizSC.whosonthemove.com
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