City debuts new reporting system
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 20, 2013 1:46 PM
After going live earlier this month, the city's new public service request reporting system, 311GIS, is allowing the city Public Works Department to respond to service calls faster and with less paper waste.
The software is available over the Internet and as an application for Android and iPhone users.
It allows residents to place service calls directly into the system and track their progress.
"The 311GIS system gives us accountability, Public Works Director Jose Martinez said. "Anything that can cause damage, if the city knows about it, they are liable."
For example, Martinez said the city is responsible for damage caused by a pothole in a street if it has been made aware of the problem.
"The first person who hits it is out of luck. But if we find out about it and someone else hits it we are liable," he said.
The system sends service calls out to Public Works superintendents by email or by text as opposed to a paper report system that is slower.
Also, every time the status of a project is changed an email is sent to the person who put in the request.
"Most times they just want an answer," Martinez said. "It may be that the problem is on an NCDOT road and we tell them it's DOT, but we passed it along to the right person over there."
Martinez said that the system gives him the ability to look at open projects and ask why a certain project has been open for a while.
The system has been tested for the past couple of months while Public Works personnel get in the habit of using it for their service calls. It went live on Dec. 2.
"It's like having 36,000 pairs of eyes looking out for you," he said. "We can't fix it if we don't know about it."
Martinez said the system has benefits over the paper report system in that the reports are never lost, the feedback to the person reporting the problem is immediate and anyone can look and see if Public Works is doing its job.
Projects are left up on the system for two weeks after they are closed so that people who have the same concern can see the city has already taken care of it.
To sign up for the system download the application or to sign up on your computer go to www.311GIS.com and click sign-up.
"It's going to be as effective as the users make it," Martinez said.