2013-10-24 / Community

Agoura Hills offers new app to report issues

Residents can submit service requests in an instant
By Stephanie Bertholdo

Imagine walking down a street in Agoura Hills and tripping on the sidewalk because the lifted root of a tree cracked the concrete. Or perhaps you stroll by a wall scribbled with graffiti or wander past a tree near a business center where thousands of wasps are ready to strike.

The City of Agoura Hills will soon have a quick and easy fix for any problem that arises under its jurisdiction. Residents will have the chance to submit service requests instantaneously through a mobile application on a smartphone or tablet.

The city unveiled its alliance with SeeClickFix, which allows people to report a variety of problems directly to the city. The phone app also allows photographs to be submitted as part of the request.

Nathan Hamburger, assistant city manager, introduced the new application at the Oct. 9 City Council meeting, which was held at the new Performing Arts Education Center at Agoura High School.

The application is free and available on Apple and Android devices, Hamburger said. Instead of registering with an email address, a user name will suffice. The “report” button allows the city to see instantly where the problem is happening since smart devices are equipped with GPS location finders.

In addition to shooting off a photo of a vexing problem, such as a pothole, residents who use the app will be able to describe the problem. Issues can also be submitted anonymously.

Hamburger said all information garnered from the new phone application will be submitted to staff and will be available to the general public. The program allows users the opportunity to track how the issue is being handled. They will also be notified when the problem is solved or the service is completed.

Councilmembers were happy with the new technology.

Councilmember Harry Schwarz joked that he was glad that the city technology has caught up with the gadgets and gismos kids use regularly.

“We’ve done so much to make it easier for people to become engaged with government,” Schwarz said. He envisions residents reporting snarled traffic, parking violations and other problems.

“Maybe there can be a happy button,” he joked. “We’ve really come into the 21st century.”

According to the staff report, the SeeClickFix application will allow the city to add features such as a community calendar, FAQ section, department contact information, trail maps and some business directory components.

Councilmember Bill Koehler asked if a specific staff member would be in charge of taking care of problems addressed by residents on the app. Kelly Fisher, public works officer, will be the point man for the city.

Councilmember John Edelston said he was happy that the city found a system to handle what he’s been doing for some time. “I seem to find lights out or sidewalks raised,” he said. “It looks like a great system.”

The mobile application will be rolling out in early December. Annual maintenance and service fees for the technology are estimated at $5,200. Visit www.seeclickfix.com for more information.

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