New online map and data tools help Covington residents better understand the city and its government
Aberdeen Avenue in Latonia is 628 feet long, its running surface has an estimated remaining life of six years, and its recommended maintenance plan currently involves patches.
Meanwhile, in South Covington, Otter Court has three houses that are rented out.
And in the Eastside, seven businesses and commercial properties have received incentives under the City’s Small Business Program in recent years.
This type of information – on road conditions, rental properties and economic development incentives – is part of the huge new datasets that have been added to the “Web Maps / Apps” subsection of the CovData section. from the City of Covington website.
But the “Apps” part of that name is inappropriate: you don’t need to download any special app to your phone or device, and you haven’t submitted an Open Records request either. The data is already there for reading.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get to know Covington and the city’s role in its management and to engage in this process,” said Todd Sink, chief analytics officer and city intelligence. “Too often ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ are just buzzwords. These new datasets actually implement these concepts in an accessible and concrete way. “
Dr Sink created the new web tools at the behest of department heads as part of an ever-expanding mission of making information readily available to the public.
The Incentives Tool, for example, details how the City has worked to help businesses invest and grow throughout Covington.
The rental permit map shows where the City has issued rental permits or is about to do so.
The Roads tool, among other things, explains which government agency (City, County, State) maintains a given road or street, gives a rough estimate of its condition, gives traffic counts (in some cases), and notes how long it has been in use. remaining life.
Instructions on how to use the individual cards are included in their drop-down menus. Some are more complicated than others, so reading the instructions is usually worth the time if you are unfamiliar with the layers of the map.
Other maps and datasets in the Web Maps / Applications section show things like:
• The availability of public parking.
• Neighborhood limits.
• Properties owned or maintained by the City.
• Crime data.
• City-maintained trash cans (and how to report a problem with them).
• Priority roads for snow removal.
• The “Adopt a Place” program.
• Inventory of public trees.
• Zoning information for individual properties.
• The location of City sponsored cigarette boxes.
And other parts of the larger CovData section provide a wealth of information on city spending, garbage and recycling collection, building permits, code enforcement cases, fire data. , occupancy approvals for units in Section 8, etc.
“It’s really neat,” said Dr Sink. “I often find myself looking at a lot of this data just out of curiosity.”
But “fascination” is not the only reason for the data.
City manager Ken Smith said city officials are using the information to make both decisions and show the need for those decisions.
“This information is not just for the show,” Smith said. “It helps dictate budget allocations and staffing arrangements, inspire and frame policy discussions and evaluate performance. Heard about data-driven decisions? Here it is in practice.
Town of Covington