The Town of Creston has added the municipality to the SeeClickFix mobile app, a program that allows users to report and submit requests regarding non-emergency issues in their town to their local governments.
Through the app, residents can submit requests for issues such as pot-holes, graffiti, defective streetlights and more. Users can include a photo and pin the location of the issue to the app’s GPS feature, which also displays other submitted requests and their statuses.
“It’ll allow us to communicate directly with the people who submit the request. If somebody puts in a request, we get it sent directly to our emails,” said Joel Comer, municipal services coordinator at the Town of Creston. “It gets automatically forwarded to the relevant department. It can skip the step of having to go through a person at the front counter.”
Once a request is submitted, the status of the report is updated regularly by the department responsible for addressing the issue. Users can see and receive updates about their request, whether if it’s in the process of being addressed, or if the case has been closed.
If a user sees that a request has already been submitted for an issue, they can follow the report and receive automatic updates on its status or any comments that are posted.
“The biggest benefit of this is the ability for someone to submit a request, for us to acknowledge it immediately and to provide updates so that a resident feels and can see that it’s actually being worked on, and that it hasn’t just gone into an empty space,” said Comer. “It really helps us close the loop with residents.”
Another feature of the app is that if there’s a road closure or a water main break in a user’s vicinity, the app will send them a notification about this issue.
“It would give us another spot to alert people to things like that,” said Comer.
He added that the app allows the town to be more organized and prompt when it comes to managing service requests.
“The nice thing is that instead of having to track things separately using spreadsheets and going through emails, all these requests will be tracked through this system all in one place,” he said. “It’ll be a lot easier for us to examine our service levels as well.”
The app is free to download, and users are required to create an account in order to submit a request. Users can remain anonymous in the app’s public realm when submitting a request, but their information can still be viewed by the Town of Creston.
Although Creston was added to the app earlier this week, Comer said that the town is planning to publicly launch the initiative and its marketing on Feb. 1.
“One of the portals we’ll be putting on our website on Feb. 1 does allow for a request to be submitted without having an account through that,” he said. “But then we lose the ability to follow-up and update the resident on the status of the issue.”
He added that the town’s focus on the app right now is on “everything infrastructure,” but noted that bylaw services are a feature that could be added in the future.
“It’s super convenient. It’ll save time,” he said. “I hope we get a whole bunch of people submitting requests and using the program. It’ll completely change and update the way we provide service.”
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