Holding Remote Public Meetings for Special Districts During a Crisis

Posted on March 27, 2020

We’ve received many requests to help our special districts communicate the need to host public meetings remotely for the foreseeable future. We hear you, and are developing content that should help you in various situations. Read on to learn more about how to help your community adjust to the new normal. We will continue to update our blog with additional communication ideas over the coming weeks.

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Special District Internal Team Collaboration

Posted on March 24, 2020

If your organization is moving to remote collaboration for the first time, these tips will help!

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FAQs for special district remote public meetings

Posted on March 20, 2020

We have received many requests for help communicating our special district’s need to host public meetings remotely. We will continue to update this FAQ page with additional information over the coming weeks.

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Remote meeting restrictions lifted in CA during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on March 12, 2020

On Thursday, May 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an executive order giving our special districts greater flexibility to hold remote meetings during the current crisis. See item 11 of the executive order for details on temporary changes to the Brown Act. 

For special districts who have not hosted online meetings in the past, it may feel overwhelming to consider meeting remotely. Streamline does not provide that sort of technology, but we do use it on a regular basis and would be happy to help in any way we can. If you need to talk through options, feel free to reach out and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can. We're also hosting a conversation about this on Wednesday March 18th - it's part of a 6 week series on marketing for special districts, but you're welcome to sign up and just attend a single episode. 

The California Special Districts Association has developed a resources page that can provide more information, and includes links to pertinent state and federal resources where members can receive the most current information.

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Senate's proposed SB 931 places undue burden on California special districts

Posted on February 28, 2020

California legislators are pushing for additional transparency requirements for local government agencies. Their latest bid, Senate Bill 931, will require our districts to provide a copy of the full agenda packet via mail or email to anyone who requests it.

Sounds like a great idea on the surface, doesn’t it?

Of course, we agree that the public has the right to know what their elected officials are doing when it comes to official district business, but there are numerous problems with this proposed bill. 

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SDLF and Streamline increase website scholarships for California special districts

Posted on February 26, 2020

The Special District Leadership Foundation announced that it will be increasing the amount of their joint SDLF / Streamline scholarship pool for 2020. In the past, districts with annual operating revenues below $500,000 were able to utilize a scholarship to receive 15 months free services on the Streamline Web platform - as long as the district didn't already have a website. This year, the scholarship is also available to districts who have a website that isn't compliant with all of the California posting and formatting requirements (including being accessible to visitors with disabilities).

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What's a billboard got to do with it?

Posted on October 28, 2019

I know, I know … the majority of special districts aren’t spending money on billboard advertising. So why am I writing about billboards?

Our online attention span is now hovering around 6 to 8 seconds, and that just happens to be the amount of time a driver has to process the information on a billboard while driving down the freeway. People have been studying the effectiveness of billboard advertising for much longer than the internet has been around - so if you’re trying to get the attention your district deserves, these takeaways can be really helpful.

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Tips for getting the positive attention your district deserves

Posted on October 7, 2019

[This is the first of a series of posts on the subject.]

We often speak with folks at special districts who feel that “promoting” the district (whether via a website, social media, or other means) is unnecessary because - and this is a direct quote: “We aren’t competing with anyone.”

Nothing could be further from the truth! Educating the public about the important work your district does is vital for a number of reasons.

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Using Chrome Lighthouse to test your site for accessibility

Posted on September 6, 2019

Creating websites that are accessible to visitors with disabilities can be challenging, especially for developers building one-off / standalone sites. Most websites that were built even a year ago are likely not accessible, and many of the content management systems out there aren't accessible out-of-the-box, so to speak. If your website partner wasn't specifically told to build your website in an accessible way, it's likely that your site may have a few issues. Accessible websites aren't easy to build!

If you're wondering if your site is accessible, you can get an idea by using an automated scanner. Automated testing won't surface every possible issue - to catch everything you really need to have testing done by professionals using assistive devices - but it will check the basics (and the most obvious), giving you an overall idea of how you're doing.

So how do you test your site yourself?

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Website Bootcamp: a better special district website with very little sweat

Posted on June 3, 2019

When we speak to special districts about their websites, we often hear familiar complaints:

• We're too busy doing our real jobs! (Providing water, sewer, fire protection, etc.)
• It's too hard! (Technology is confusing.)
• It's too expensive! (Most vendors charge a big up front fee to build it.)
• Nobody cares! (Our community doesn't give a damn what we're up to.)

The truth is, special districts - possibly more than any other type of organization - need to tell their stories, and there is no better, or less expensive, way to do so than on the web.

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