YORKTOWN, N.Y. – When it comes to local government, especially in an affluent suburb like Yorktown, a good chunk of the job is responding to quality-of-life issues. Right now, those resident-reported issues are usually handled in extremely informal manners, such as tagging town officials in Facebook posts about fallen trees, potholes or wonky traffic lights.
Though sometimes effective, that strategy is far from ideal. Without a paper trail, wires often get crossed and unresolved issues can slip through the cracks. It also robs the town of potentially useful data that it can use to improve response times and resource allocation, said Town Supervisor Matt Slater.
“We get calls from constituents, ‘Hey, I called this office about this.’ There is no connectivity between our office and the office they already called,” Slater said at a July 28 work session of the Town Board. “So, we wouldn’t know if they already called highway or refuse and recycling or whoever. We don’t have a system that tracks these things and we don’t have a system that talks to each other.”
In an attempt to solve this problem, the Town Board is considering contracting for the services of SeeClickFix, a cloud-based software system that lets residents report quality-of-life issues on a map monitored by government employees. It would cost the town $7,500 annually.
“We were built to really connect residents to their local government around quality-of-life issues,” said Carlos Galo, of SeeClickFix. “Email is not a workflow. Email gets really cumbersome really fast. This comes with location, with who’s attached to it, who’s on base, who’s doing something about it.”
Residents can use the publicly viewable map to monitor the status of the issues they report, which would be designated as open, acknowledged or closed. The software allows residents to upload photos of the issue. Once resolved, employees can upload another photo to show the completed work.