City of Sparks Community Relations Manager Adam Mayberry gave a demonstration of the mobile application service Monday morning inside the Sparks Legislative Building. He said the Citizen Request tool helps the city manage issues or questions from residents in a timely manner and keeps them updated throughout the process.
“Throughout the next several days, weeks or even months, depending on what the issue is, the resident will receive an email on where they are in the process up to its conclusion,” Mayberry said after submitting an example graffiti concern. “The value of this system is it allows our staff to track problems and inform the resident when they are done. Often times, a resident will place an email or telephone call and it will not be resolved and the citizen may not know if it was put in the right hands. This really allows a little more accountability for the City of Sparks in listening to our citizens.”
The city’s mobile application has more than 5,500 downloads from the two device providers in its 18-month existence. Mayberry said making the Sparks Citizen Requests link more public comes after a two-month trial period, ensuring all the “bugs were worked out.”
In addition to the accountability from the city, Mayberry said it aids with staffing reductions at the local government.
“With the recession and tremendous economic downturn, local governments in our state, and the nation, have substantially reduced their workforce,” Mayberry said. “When I started almost eight years ago, we had 700 employees and now we have just more than 400.
We are not always as responsive as we would like to be. There are some things, from time to time, that fall through the cracks, so this is a way for us to track any requests or issues the citizens bring to us.”
Nancy Munson, administrative secretary for human resources and risk management, was on hand for the demonstration of the website version of the tool. After clicking the telephone-denoted link online, citizens are able to browse through a variety of issues, ranging from graffiti on a local power box to damaged stop lights and more. Munson said the features are available through the computer and the phone application, making it versatile for all problems.
“Anytime there is an update or notification on the request you sent in, you will receive an update via email,” she said. “It is so accessible. Everyone has their phones with them at all times. Those people with smart phones can do it quickly so we can see the exact location and what the issue is at hand. We really encourage people to go on and use it. It is a pretty friendly program and it is really quick.”
Mayberry said the staff member or department responsible will receive the resident inquiry immediately, however the service is not designed for life-threatening emergencies. City of Sparks employees have already been using the application and solving the problems that come through. Any resident who signs in to Public Stuff’s application, a process done the first time a request is made, will be able to access the service quickly.
The Sparks Citizen Requests service is available online at www.cityofsparks.us and via mobile device at the Apple App Store or the Android Google Play Store. More information about the service is available at www.cityofsparks.us.