City introduces official civic complaint phone application

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Residents will soon be able to pick up their phones, take a picture of a blighted area or a pothole and immediately notify city officials of the problem.

The city recently entered an agreement with SeeClickFix, a software company that has created a phone application through which residents can notify the city of complaints or problems they are experiencing.

The contract became effective July 1, and city officials are hoping New Britain’s app will be up and running by the end of August. Based in New Haven, SeeClickFix has partnered with hundreds municipalities all across the country and world since it was founded in 2007.

Kathie Hurley, public information officer for the New Haven Department of Public Works, said SeeClickFix has been a great tool for the city since it was implemented years ago.

“It’s been a great way for us to connect to the public,” Hurley told The Herald. “It’s a real user-friendly system.”

Hurley explained that the city has used the SeeClickFix app to send out e-notices to the community, too. Hurley said she’s used the app to notify the public about paving in the city, and it’s also been used to send “heads-up” notices about upcoming meetings.

“We’ve really begun to use the full scope of the service since it became a mobile phone app,” Hurley said.

Public Works Director Mark Moriarty expressed support for the program when the Common Council discussed it in June.

“From my standpoint, it’s a great way to communicate things back and forth between residents and the city,” Moriarty said during the discussion.

Moriarty said that the program would eliminate steps in the process Public Works uses to fix issues, instead going directly from the resident who identifies the problem to the department that will try to fix it.

Residents will even get a notification when the problem they reported has been fixed or resolved.

Several aldermen supported SeeClickFix at the same meeting, saying that the app is a good way to continue the city’s use of new technology to connect with residents and fix issues in the community.

“I think it’s just another way to show that the city is innovating in trying to connect City Hall with the people of New Britain,” said Alderman Jamie Giantonio.

Alderman Jim Sanders said he was hesitant about the idea until he heard of the financial savings the city will see when it discontinues current programs that are less effective than SeeClickFix.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we need,” said Alderman Carlo Carlozzi of the software program.

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