Triad cities creating mobile apps for residents

Across the Piedmont, more and more cities are creating apps so people can submit city requests on their smartphones or tablets.

The City of Burlington just launched the “Burlington Connected” app Monday.

“Almost 40-50 percent of our web site users are viewing it from their smartphones, so we really want to try and be where our residents are,” said Rachel Kelly, with the City of Burlington.

The free app is designed for residents who prefer less talking and more typing. All residents have to do is select a complaint category, tag a location, and then users can even submit a picture.

“We’ve programmed the app so that when you select that you have a high grass complaint, it will go straight to our code enforcement department and they’ll send an officer out to check out the high grass and take care of it,” said Kelly.

Kelly says most of the complaints they get have to do with code enforcement issues, like high grass. Getting a picture of a problem ahead of time is a great tool for code enforcement officers.

City staff in Greensboro agrees.

“When I’m trying to read what they’ve written and trying to interpret what they’re really talking about, that photo is priceless. It really tells us what’s going on,” said Contact Center Manager Mary Jutte, with the City of Greensboro.

Greensboro launched the “Greensboro Fix It” app in April. Jutte says they’re fielding between 60-80 requests a week on the app.

“It’s a pretty good number. You know, we get about 1,100 phone calls a day, but it’s a decent number,” said Jutte.

The City of Winston-Salem also launched their CityLink311 app earlier this year. City staff say they’re getting more than 100 requests a month through the app.

Mobile apps aren’t for everyone, so residents in each city are still welcome to submit complaints by phone or in person.

“We’re trying to be transparent and responsive, and technology helps us do it,” said Kelly.

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