There's an App for That

 

I have been able to work in cities that embrace technology as a means of serving and communicating with residents. Need to report a pothole or illegal dumping? Open the app, take a picture and send. Water bill due next week? Receive a text reminder to avoid late payments and fees. Public works or licensing hearing that may be of interest to neighbors? Why depend only on a visit to our website when we can send a notification directly to you for no real cost? As a member of the City Council I will push to;

  • Develop a comprehensive technology-based communications strategy

  • Use city technologies to create a virtual volunteer marketplace

  • Embrace data reporting and metrics development

I appreciate the city newsletter and website, recognizing that for many residents these will always be the most comfortable means of communication. For many of our residents these methods do not match how they communicate on a daily basis. With a city that has the resources and surrounding expertise of Rockville, we should expect leadership in the integration of technology for city activities. An app not only to report problems but receive summaries of proposed legislation or policies, with a public forum to allow resident input without having to show up at meetings. Text notifications of significant events or deadlines can improve turnout and lessen delinquencies or even fines.

City apps are in a unique position to connect residents and I will seek the development of a volunteer marketplace using city technology. In addition to student community service hours, a large number of residents are eager to help those around them. Many of our residents have needs for assistance that would be gladly met by their neighbors if only they were known. For elderly residents, this marketplace not only helps meet immediate needs, like the shoveling of snow, but can help combat the social isolation that is too often a part of aging. For all residents who take part there is a greater connection to their city and a greater likelihood of seeing familiar faces in the community.

Cities that embrace communications technology also embrace data and metrics to transparently track and assess government activities. As the voters’ and residents’ representative I will demand transparent reporting of data and the development of outcome-based metrics for city activities. Does the City of Rockville have a gender wage gap in the city workforce? We cannot end it if we don’t know it exists and as city business, it is everyone’s business. Is access to recreational resources evenly distributed through the city? Are complaints of police conduct on the decline? Elected officials set expectations for accountability and performance and I have the familiarity with data collection and assessment to know what answers should be available and ask the right questions. Using these tools will result in a city government that is more efficient, cost effective, and responsive.

 

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