Could encouraging citizens’ use of electronics be an effective means for cities and counties to deal with their economic woes?
Consider the following facts:
- As the end of 2011 nears, cities are struggling with cuts to budgets, programs, and services; and, even, furloughs and layoffs of staff.
- More and more citizens are utilizing the latest electronic gadgets (iPhone, iPad, or Android) to get their news, read or listen to a favorite book, trade on the stock market, or use GPS functions for directions.
City Web Portals: City web portals are an efficient way to handle applications and requests. Citizens benefit by no longer having to find time to phone or visit city hall. There is no need to track email correspondence sent to a city department to apply for a permit or license, or a request that the city take care of some graffiti in the neighborhood park. Communities benefit when, from the city web site, applications are completed by engaging the citizens to do the data entry, not a city staff person. An on-line payment via credit card makes it convenient for both citizens and their communities. Think of it as a virtual city hall.
Engaged Citizens are Happy Citizens: As a concerned citizen, does it drive you crazy when you see something that requires the city’s attention? Have you sent emails, phoned city hall, and yet the situation does not change? Visiting the city’s web portal can simplify life by making requests and receiving updates all through one site. Cities can automate requests from the back-end as it routes to the proper official within minutes, not days.
Communication Boards: In addition to the traditional approach of citizens attending council meetings or town halls to present a request, cities should consider offering communication boards. These on-line bulletin boards create chat communities to share ideas initiated by citizens or officials. On-line surveys or opinion polls offer valuable information from a larger base of the community which enhances opportunities for better decision making. Boards can also be used to find a few interested citizens for an effective on-line committee.
Consider FTG Connect®! FastTrackGov® is the avenue you and your community should consider to create a powerful team. This subscription-based solution for a web portal assists cities in engaging their citizens on-line via their web sites with low overhead expenses. FastTrackGov allows a community to configure its applications to the city ordinances. The web site portal will accept payments for licenses, permits, or other fees. On-line messaging can be tracked and reviewed by both officials and citizens. To learn more, visit www.fasttrackgov.com.