Lakeville asks what’s next in technology

Tech Work Group being formed

Lakeville is looking ahead by establishing a Technology Work Group that will explore how the city can best prepare for what is coming next.

Mayor Doug Anderson said so much is changing in technology, the city should be prepared to offer its residents and businesses the backbone needed to support it so Lakeville remains a city of choice.

 

ty Council members recently interviewed three people interested in serving on the Technology Work Group and are searching for more members, possibly including tech-savvy youth and residents who are primarily users instead of experts in the field.

The work group will also review proposals brought to the City Council that include a technology component to provide the council with recommendations.

Anderson said issues the group may explore range from accessibility to app development, body cameras and security infrastructure.

He said the group should also explore ways the public can contact the city using technology.

City Council Member Luke Hellier said the work group could focus on concerns of accessibility for residents and business, investigate and promote ways to eliminate paperwork, and generally make things easier for people to do.

He suggested the group work with providers to find ways for seniors and low-income families to have reduced costs for Wi-Fi and affordable internet access.

“I think the broader picture is how can we just be more accessible on technology,” Hellier said.

Council Member Bart Davis agreed, noting the city should strive to offer residents and businesses “the opportunity to interact with us how they want to interact with us.”

He said businesses owners are responding to customer inquiries when it is convenient for them, not just limited work-week hours.

“How can we start thinking a little bit more about that, given the change in consumer behavior and the expectations of more information, more real-time, and how do we address that as a city,” Davis said.

City Council Member Colleen LaBeau said the city needs to consider how it can serve the small business owner who may be a one-person shop.

Davis described cybersecurity as “a critical piece to explore,” especially in areas involving police video recordings.

Lakeville Information Systems Manager Ralph Vetter said the city needs a gap analysis to discover what technology and access the community needs but is missing.

He said technology security may be more internal, but the big thing is looking at a gap analysis to augment services the city offers.

City Council Member Brian Wheeler said the city needs to investigate what it would take to put free Wi-Fi in downtown Lakeville or at Antlers Park.

“Wi-Fi for kids is huge,” Wheeler said. “Because all you hear every day is ‘I’m out of data,’ so having it at the lake or downtown, citywide Wi-Fi spots, that’d be cool.”

City Administrator Justin Miller said the city expects to have the group in place and ready to start meeting by the end of summer.