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For James City County, paper annual reports are so last year.
To show off the county’s accomplishments in fiscal year 2015, the county produced its first annual report video.
Jody Puckett, county communications director, said she and County Administrator Bryan Hill had been thinking about presenting the annual report as a video, but with access to “fresh talent” in the video department, Puckett said now was the time to do it.
“They’ve got a new way of looking at things,” she said of the video team. “We’ve always done printing in the past so we thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’ The time was right.”
The team started working on the report in September and debuted the final version during the Dec. 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.
To emphasize the “human side” of the annual report, board Chairman Michael Hipple (Powhatan), Vice Chairman Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown) and Supervisor John McGlennon (Roberts) spoke on camera about the county’s progress from locations in their districts.
From Hornsby Middle School, Hipple talked about establishing the county’s strategic initiatives and adopting the budget; from New Town, Onizuk emphasized the county’s focus on integrity and collaboration when it comes to economic growth; and from Busch Gardens, McGlennon talked about how taxpayer money funds county services.
The report detailed the efficiency of county services and presented pie charts of county spending.
The JCC Police Department responded to 20,875 citizen calls for service in FY 2015, a 3 percent increase from FY 2014, and the JCC Fire Department responded to a total of 9,817 calls with an average response time of 5 minutes and 57 seconds, according to the report.
Real estate taxes comprised nearly half of the county’s revenue in FY 2015 and 44.4 percent of spending went toward the WJCC School Division’s operating budget, according to the report.
Puckett said the team filmed events and activities in the fall and created slideshows of still images for the report. Almost all of the visuals were produced by county staff – the only video they borrowed was the front-seat roller coaster footage from Busch Gardens.
“We tried to include as much statistical information as we thought the taxpayer would want to know and as many visuals as we could find,” Puckett said.
In previous years the county printed 500 copies of the annual report and sent them to community leaders and nearby localities, but Puckett said there was no way to know how many people read the report.
With the annual report video, however, Puckett said she can see how many times the report has been viewed. As of Dec. 22 the video had been viewed more than 215 times.
“To me it’s more of a living document than something that ends up in the recycling bin,” Puckett said. “The more we can get it out there, the more I think those numbers will go up.”
She said it was also more affordable to produce the video than a paper report, as the county did not need to spend money on printing copies.
Puckett said the team is planning to shoot more footage of county events if a video report is the preferred choice next year.
“I think the video we did this year was fantastic but I know can get better and better every year,” Puckett said.