When residents see a pothole in the road, or a road sign that has fallen down, or wants to report that their garbage has not been picked up on time, there’s an App for that.
Mayor Bill Laforet announced this week the launch of “Mahwah Delivers,” a free application that can be downloaded to smart phones. Laforet called the app, which the township developed with software company PublicStuff, “the official civic engagement tool.”
The main feature of the app is a reporting tool that allows residents to take a picture of an issue they are experiencing, detail the problem, and submit it directly to the township. The complaint will get routed to the proper department, and the resident who posted the request will get an email confirming that it was received, and status update emails about what is being done to address the issue.
Laforet said the app is a response to, “the need for technology in local government to provide efficient and transparent services with a high degree of accountability.”
The app works to keep township employees responsive to the Mahwah Delivers requests, too. Each resident entry submitted to a department head is given a timeframe, and if no action has been taken on the issue within the timeframe, it sends the department head a reminder email about the pending issue.
“Mahwah Delivers” also contains information that the township can post and update anytime. So, residents can look to the app for information about weather alerts, traffic conditions, and community events and activities.
The idea for the app, Laforet said, came out of Hurricane Sandy.
“We realized that we need to provide platforms for both inbound and outbound communication,” between the township and its residents, he said.
The township has two emergency notification systems – the Swift911 emergency call system, and the Nixle text message alerts. Both allow for the township to send messages to the community, but they do not let residents communicate with the township.
“Mahwah Delivers provides that [type of communication] in an innovative manner,” Laforet said. “We are one of the first towns in the state to use this technology.”
Representatives from PublicStuff, which operates its app in cities across the country, said they were happy to have the township on board with the new technology.
“We hope to enable residents of Mahwah to be more involved and engaged members of the community, and to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” PublicStuff CEO and founder Lily Liu said in a release.
The township will have a booth at Mahwah Day Saturday centered around the app, answering resident questions about it and helping locals download it.
The app is available for free download on the Apple and Google Play App Stores, and is compatible with iPhone and Android devices.