Jacksonville officials were recently honored with a 2021 Smart 50 Award for work that helped the city during February’s winter storms.

The city’s Director of Community and Public Service Randall Chandler traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award on Oct. 20 that City Manager James Hubbard was bestowed on the city for implementing a city-wide smart water metering system. Hubbard said the project was funded by savings the city saw from efficiencies and lower costs from the system.

“The project ended up paying for itself with just one event, Winter Storm Uri, and has showcased its resilience to future freeze conditions,” he said.

The Smart 50 Awards, presented by Smart Cities Connect, annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work, according to its website.

Laura Benold, with Smart Cities Connect, said the company chose five projects this year to honor in Texas. She said the project in Jacksonville was chosen because it addresses a challenge seen by cities far and wide.

“Its use of data is clear, and it especially features unique ability to prepare for natural disaster, something cities around the world fear as climate change worsens,” Benold said. “Especially now, as we turn greater attention and funding to upgrading water pipes through the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, we expect this project to set an example for cities across the nation.”

Chandler credited the Jacksonville City Council and city departments in their roles with the project.

“This award is a direct result of the forward-thinking mindset of our Jacksonville City Council,” he said.

“This award acknowledges the major infrastructure improvements to the City of Jacksonville’s Water Distribution System and the responsiveness of the Utility Billing Department.”


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