August 12, 2014
One of my top priorities on the County Council is to develop new technology initiatives that can drive growth in our local economy as well as strengthen the transparency and accountability of government.
If you read my new white paper on Moving Montgomery Forward with Gigabit Speed Networks, you will get a sense of why I think new technology initiatives are so important for our county.
To spur economic development in key sectors of Montgomery County’s economy, my white paper proposes the more effective utilization of ultra high-speed (100+ gigabits per second), ultra reliable, and ultra secure data networks in the county’s centers of research and economic activity — our innovation districts. These districts include White Oak, the Great Seneca Science Corridor, Bethesda and Silver Spring. What makes these districts so attractive for investment and job creation is the presence of federal agencies, such as the FDA, NIST, NIH, NOAA, a significant private sector toehold, and highly educated resident base focused around the life science, earth science, biotech and cybersecurity industries.
The specific challenge for the County is to form collaborative partnerships with the major federal institutions, non-profit, and private-sector companies to leverage these ultra high-speed connections. Specifically, the County will need a better understanding how federal agencies, such as the FDA and NIH, could use the next-gen applications made possible by the ultra high-speed networks. Then, the County should use these partnerships to attract businesses to build those applications in each innovation districts. The challenge is great, but the rewards could be substantial for the continued growth in the County’s economic base.
If you would like to dig a bit deeper into these exciting concepts, I invite you to read the white paper on this interactive website:
I am also thrilled to share a landmark new development in financial transparency for the county — the launch of our new online budget tool that is already becoming a national model. The tool is powered by raw data from dataMontgomery, an initiative called for in the Open Data Act of 2012, which I authored.
Some of the key highlights of the new budget tool include:
- Allows residents to digitally navigate the current and past budgets with interactive graphs and charts.
- Enhanced search capability and optimized for mobile, tablet and desktop.
- Translatable into more than 90 languages.
- Future modules of the tool will include spending and procurement data.
As the Council’s Lead Member for Digital Government, I am pleased to see the Montgomery County Executive–in collaboration with the private sector open data company, Socrata–develop an innovative tool that will help residents better understand our County’s budget and finances and more effectively participate in the decisions our government makes. We are working to replace the lengthy paper budget books and endless PDF files that have provided all of our budget information for years, with web-based tools that allow residents to see spending patterns and priorities over time, crunch their own numbers, and hold government more accountable.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on both of these please initiatives. Please do email me at Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov to let me know what you think!