Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration is purchasing a mobile application that will allow residents to report potholes, graffiti, and other problems by snapping a picture and hitting send on their smartphones.
The issue is then sent to a designated individual at the specific department responsible for addressing the problem for resolution. The concerned resident gets notified when the issue has been assigned and the problem fixed.
“This looks like it will have great potential,” said William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman, after the City Council sat through a presentation on Tuesday night.
Council members will have to award a $24,720 contract to Somerset-based SHI International Corporation to acquire the web and mobile application created by SeeClickFix. Employees will receive training to correctly handle the complaints that come in through the application.
The application uses the phone’s GPS feature to tell the government exactly where the issue was observed. App users will also be able to see the complaints others have filed.
Currently, the city operates a phone hotline where residents are able to call in to complain about issues.
“This is something very cutting edge and next level,” remarked Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman.
It was cutting edge a decade ago. Other towns have similar applications. For example, Jersey City, which has 271,000 residents, implemented the same system more than three years ago. “Jersey City Connect,” the application run by Jersey City, has 1,000 downloads in the Google Play marketplace.
Jackson said the application has to be paired with a public awareness campaign to get the word out to residents that the application exists.