Del Mar considers technology needs

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Increased cybersecurity and expanded use of digital mapping technology by city departments are two technology goals the city of Del Mar will be exploring in the coming year with the help of a consultant to be hired.

“The technology has changed immensely since 2000,” Del Mar City Councilman Dave Druker said. “It seems like we’ve kept up with some of it. We do need to go back, or look forward, and see what we’re doing.”

In 2000, the city hired a consulting firm to develop an information technology strategic plan, resulting in the launch of the city website and video streaming for public meetings. Druker mentioned a recent cybersecurity issue in San Marcos that prevented the city’s email system from working properly. The city responded by enlisting an independent computer forensic and cybersecurity firm.

“There’s a lot of stuff that comes at us in this area of technology, constantly new things to check out,” Druker said.

A report from the city’s IT manager and administrative services director said cybersecurity “remains the number one challenge to maintaining the City’s information technology program and investment in security should remain a top priority.”

Other areas for improvement listed in the report include adding paper records to the city’s electronic document management system, updates to financial reporting systems, and the use of geographic information system technology, a digital mapping tool that can be used for city-related tasks.

The city is also working to launch OpenGov, an open data portal with information about Del Mar’s finances, in early 2020.

“I’ve seen dramatic improvements in all aspects in just the five years I’ve been on the council,” City Councilman Dwight Worden said.

The city is also considering “Smart City” technology that residents would be able to use for tasks such as finding available public parking spots.

There has been $50,000 included in the fiscal year 2020-21 budget to spend on outside help for the IT strategic plan. The city staff report said the plan “will provide a roadmap for the next three to five years and should align with the City’s overall strategic goals,” as well as “allow the City to envision the possibilities of what it can and should do to continue innovating.”

“That’s the benefit of that, using a consultant who does have the exposure to a lot of different cities, understands the challenges of trying to implement things at a staff, department level and can really help us as we’re moving in to this ‘smarter cities,’ and not really jump too fast,” Del Mar City Manager Scott Huth said.