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Blackbox Special Report

Milton uses technology to keep residents informed



MILTON, Ga. – Milton puts an emphasis on its transparency, a practice evident on the city’s website. The city provides notices, agendas and information packets that include relevant documents for all its open city meetings. The city also keeps this information available for later retrieval. The documents are not taken down from the city’s website.

Shannon Ferguson, Milton communications manager, said the city also allows for transparency through its interactions with residents and by taking ownership of its mistakes, seeking opportunities to improve.

However, Milton’s transparency came in to question last year. An open records request found that multiple councilmembers were texting about issues on the council’s agenda during council meetings.

The council voted 4-3 opposing a resolution that would have prohibited councilmembers from using their personal cell phones during council meetings.

Insofar as finances, Milton lays it all out on the front page of the website. Residents can view the city’s expenses as it relates to its budget every year beginning from 2008-09.

Meetings are live-streamed and are usually available just a few hours after the actual meeting takes place. An upgrade in equipment in the new city hall has provided better sound and video quality.

The city’s “Connect Milton” app also allows residents to report an issue or concern within the city and then track the city’s progress on addressing the problem. The city also uses a Constant Contact database which distributes monthly newsletters, routine council meeting updates and periodic updates regarding upcoming projects, current events, ongoing issues or other key city matters.

Future Land Use maps and proposed projects are also available from the city’s website, and residents can make open records requests online with a simple form.

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