By Hon. Carlos A. Gimenez
In Miami-Dade County, what we’ve learned over the years is that municipal agencies work best when they work together. Operating as isolated silos, they are woefully inefficient. The consequences are not just economic, they are also social and cultural, affecting quality of life.
A major event that brings in thousands of visitors to one of our parks, for example, is not just a challenge for the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department – it could cause traffic that the Department of Transportation must address, or draw crowds that Police must be prepared to manage. There’s no reason why city agencies shouldn’t share information and coordinate responses to major events accordingly.
While many local governments are grappling with service cuts, Miami-Dade County is in a unique position in that our economy has finally returned to growth mode. Still, there is tremendous competition for government resources, and in order to build for the future, we need to spend wisely now. Many of our challenges won’t be overcome by simply throwing money at them. Nor can private enterprise solve our problems alone. There needs to be a partnership between public and private enterprise.
So as we tackle future projects like the overhaul of our aging water and sewer system, the county won’t just be looking for big government solutions. We’re looking to form alliances with our partners in the business world that allow us to innovate, expand our local workforces and save our residents money at the same time.
This is why we are modernizing our information systems. As part of the initiative, we can collect and integrate data from throughout the county. Time-sensitive information can be made accessible to decision makers on intelligent dashboards in nearly real-time.
The financial return could be substantial. Using predictive analytics and smart metering to detect and prevent water leaks is expected to reduce water consumption by 20 percent, generating up to $1 million in savings per year. Big Data will also play an important role in intelligent policing; that is, by using data analytics, police can uncover new leads, investigate crimes and solve outstanding cases.
In fact, the benefits could touch and improve nearly every part of everyday life. We can use information to determine the most cost-effective ways to invest in public transit projects or to drive economic development in specific neighborhoods. The stakes are too high not to act and the possibilities are endless. This isn’t just about saving money. It’s about a common sense approach to rethinking local government and improving peoples’ lives in Miami-Dade County.