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Prepare Your District for a New Decade of Challenges and Opportunities


Welcome to the latest issue of The Districts, where we chronicle the people, issues and activities impacting special districts across the U.S.

News Staff / February 5, 2020

Welcome to Special Districts 2020

We’re kicking off the 2020 Special Districts Program with another full year of events, news and activities tailored to the unique needs of special district leaders. This year’s program is designed to prepare your district for the opportunities and challenges of a new decade. We’ll focus on helping special districts become faster, through strategies and technologies to cope with accelerating change; smarter, through data-driven ideas and insights; and safer, through sophisticated security and privacy measures. We’re adding even more ways to participate in 2020.

Connect in person: Our 2020 program features live Special District Summits in the West, Midwest and Southeast where special district leaders can network, share ideas and learn from innovators during interactive, half-day sessions. We’re planning summits in Southern California in June, Chicago in September and Orlando in October. Look for more details in the weeks to come.

Join the conversation virtually: This year we’re launching two virtual Special District Summits where leaders can connect with their peers without leaving the office. These live, online events will feature expert panelists, insightful presentations and fast-paced “ask us anything” sessions to help you keep up with the latest technologies and trends.

Earn recognition: Our Technology Innovation Awards Program puts the spotlight on your achievements. Last year we recognized more than 40 districts and officials for innovative uses of technology to improve citizen services and internal operations, as well as for exemplary leadership. Submit your application now for the 2020 awards program.

Tune in for Our 2020 Kickoff Webcast

Join us in March for a recap of job-critical insights from last year’s program and a preview of 2020. We’re assembling a panel of innovative special district leaders and experts who’ll offer unique perspectives on issues that will impact your organization today and in the future. You won’t want to miss this 2020 kickoff event. We’ll have more details soon.

District Spotlight: Mapping Air Quality

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco will partner with a local air-quality monitoring company to gather pollution data from every corner of the 5,000-square-mile metro area.

The plan calls for driving vehicles equipped with air-quality monitoring sensors down every public street in the nine-county region. The work is part of an effort to collect detailed pollution data, which experts say can vary greatly not only block-to-block, but even within the same city block.

“The Air District is investing in innovation to bring an unprecedented level of visibility of air pollution and climate emissions,” said district CEO Jack Broadbent, during a press event to announce the project in January. “This project will help shine a light on the disparate health impacts faced by many in the region. And it will inform lawmakers to better guide our decision-making process to protect the health of all Bay Area residents moving forward.”

Data from the drives, which will be conducted throughout 2020 and 2021, will be combined with other air district data to map out block-by-block air quality across a range of pollutants like ozone and nitrogen dioxide. The data ultimately will be publicly available on the district’s website.

Read the full story.

More Articles Worth a Read

Here are more stories from special districts around the country. Share your own news with us for inclusion in the next newsletter.

The Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority is working to create a mobile app that residents can use to plan and pay for public transit trips across the city’s 13-county metro area. The authority, created in 2018, is charged with simplifying public transit in the region.

Douglas County Public Utility District in Washington state intends to dramatically increase electricity rates for cryptocurrency mining operations to fund a $500 million dam repair project. Cryptocurrency miners in the county would see an immediate 20 percent rate hike, followed by 10 percent increases every six months for the next five years.

Self-driving electric shuttles were scheduled to begin service in Columbus, Ohio’s Linden neighborhood in January under a 12-month pilot project. The 12-passenger shuttles will be operated by a partnership that includes the Central Ohio Transit Authority and Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

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