Macon Increases Public Engagement Through SeeClickFix
The City of Macon has added service requests for the Central Services Department to the SeeClickFix program. Now, people can use their smart phone, internet connection, and even Facebook to report issues with lighting, street painting, and traffic signals and signs.
“We want to provide a more direct connection between the citizens of Macon and the departments serving them and their needs,” says City of Macon Mayor Robert Reichert. “With SeeClickFix, we are also providing people the ability to track the progress of their service request, as well as those in their neighborhood.
After noticing a fallen Stop sign on her way home one evening, City Councilmember Lauren Benedict used SeeClickFix to upload a photo and report it to Central Services. The next morning, she received notification that the issue had been resolved.
“I was thrilled by Central Services' quick response time and the effectiveness of SeeClickFix in making the department aware of the problem and notifying me when it was resolved,” she says. “I know that Central Services, like most City departments, responds quickly to community concerns, so I was not surprised that the sign was fixed so quickly. However, the notification through SeeClickFix will allow the public more insight into just how quick and responsive the City can be, especially regarding issues of public safety.”
The issues that can now be reported to the Central Services Department are in addition to those that have people can report to the Public Works Department, including streets, garbage, drainage, debris collection, dead animals in the road, graffiti removal, fallen trees, illegal dumping, eviction debris, and more. The Public Works Department was selected due to the high volume of day-to-day issues that they are able to address, and Macon consistently ranks as one of the top performing cities based on its response to citizen needs.
The City of Macon has been using SeeClickFix since April 2012 as a way for people to place service requests and receive real-time status updates through an online and mobile interface. The place-based reporting platform allows residents to document neighborhood concerns and improvements alike, ranging from litter to damaged sidewalks to missing garbage carts. Using this real-time, online reporting system can increase productivity, efficiency, and transparency for many city services and departments.
Residents without online or mobile capabilities can still report issues to the City by calling the Customer Service Desk at 751-7400. The next department that will be added to the SeeClickFix program with be the Economic and Community Development Department, allowing citizens to notify the City of Macon of issues with abandoned vehicles, burned houses, home issues that violate City codes, issues with yards, vacant lots, and more.
About SeeClickFix in Macon
With the online and mobile reporting application, residents can report concerns through service request categories via the City’s website (www.cityofmacon.net and selecting the “Report An Issue” button on the left side), custom mobile applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry via www.seeclickfix.com/apps, a Facebook App, and SeeClickFix.com. The phone apps are free.
The interface for reporting issues is very user-friendly, utilizing drop down selection menus and simple clarifying questions. When submitting issues via mobile app, for example, residents can select from a list of issues and provide a description, including location and picture. Once the resident submits an issue, anyone ‘watching’ the area will receive an alert. The City can then acknowledge the service request, route it to the proper department, and update the request—and residents following the issue—once it’s been resolved.
The partnership allows residents to not only report community issues, but also view, comment on, and fix problems submitted by their neighbors. Citizens can create their own “watch areas” to receive notifications about all issues reported in their community, enabling them to follow the progress of all service requests – not just the ones they report.
The first year of this program is being funded with a $5,000 grant from the Knight Fund for Macon at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. By funding this effort, it continues the effort to encourage and promote government transparency and civic engagement in Macon and other communities.
SeeClickFix allows citizens anywhere in the world to report and monitor non-emergency community issues ranging from potholes and planted trees to garbage and graffiti. Launched in 2008, it empowers citizens, community groups, media organizations, and governments to work together and improve their neighborhoods. Through mobile web, web, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry apps, the SeeClickFix platform is the most widely-distributed citizen reporting tool in the country. SeeClickFix supports the Open311 standard that promotes improved communication between local municipalities and the citizens they serve. For more information or to report an issue, visit www.seeclickfix.com.