In the old days, if you were driving around town and ran over a giant pothole that tore up your tailpipe and tires, you’d pick up the phone and call the Town Hall and, no doubt, scream your head off.
Well, ever since Silicon Valley geeks devised the microchip and began fashioning digital devices, we’ve been given a great gift.
Now there’s no need to go through all that trouble or to rant and rave at some unfortunate government bureaucrat – assuming one is available to listen to you.
No, as of Feb. 6, the Town of Kearny has obligingly put into service “SeeClickFix,” an “App for iPhone and Android users” or, if you prefer, an “online and mobile interface” – as the new operation is referenced on the town website. This “place-based reporting platform” – which relies on your Smartphone having a GPS function – allows folks to use their digitally-enhanced electronic gadgets to tap into the town’s computer system and report in real time that nasty pothole, a traffic light out, a fallen tree, a water leak or whatever it may be, and request that someone handle the problem.
Mayor Alberto Santos said the device allows the user to either manually enter the location of the problem or to use the system’s GPS technology.
“We know that our citizens are increasingly relying on mobile phones and tablet computers,” Santos said. “This new app is another way for residents to report a problem quickly.”
Town Administrator Michael Martello said the See- ClickFix system’s software “is compatible with our existing software package so they can interface and talk with each other.”
Once that contact is made, Martello said, and a service request is initiated, the system “immediately creates a notification to the appropriate municipal department and maps out the location.”
As a follow-up, Martello said, the department that is servicing the resident’s request will e-mail a response to the inquiry and that comment will, in turn, be forwarded to the resident.
Martello said the town secured the new system at a cost of $9,200. “It’s a more efficient way of operating,” he said.
As an added feature, Martello said, the system allows the town to keep a “quantifiable account” of recurring types of problems, whether it’s a pattern of potholes on a particular street or water leaks in one section of the community.
Now, he said, a department director has another tool to assess how best to direct the department’s resources.
Residents are advised that the Kearny SeeClick- Fix website that they can be found at www.kearnynj.org and can download iPhone and Android apps at http://www. seeclickfix.com/apps.
— Ron Leir