Want to tell the city about a pothole, abandoned car or overgrown tree on your street? Now — if you're in Omaha and you've got a smartphone or tablet — you don't have to make a call.
On Thursday, the City of Omaha unveiled a new, free app that allows people to report problems in seconds by snapping a photo and answering a couple questions. The app is called the Omaha Mobile App.
The program is operated by CitySourced, a Los Angeles-based company, and already is used in several other cities around the country. It identifies the sender's exact location and provides the report directly to the department that will tackle it, from public works to police.
In a news conference at Essex Park in South Omaha, near South 36th and Washington Streets, Mayor Jim Suttle tried out the system for himself. He pulled out his iPhone, snapped a photo of black graffiti scrawled on playground equipment, and pressed “send.” Almost instantly, the report was on the CitySourced website.
Suttle — and anyone else who submits reports — will receive updates when a city official receives the information, when it's being handled and when the work has been completed.
“I am hopeful that this application will bring Omahans closer to their government" and decrease the city's response time, Suttle said.
The free app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows 7-based smartphones, along with tablets, and can be downloaded on iTunes.
The Mayor's Office said the program typically costs between $27,000 and $30,000, but the company offered it to the city for a better price because it wants to expand to the midwest. With savings from taking vacant Mayor's Hotline jobs out of the budget, the net cost for the city is about $5,000, according to the city.
CitySourced says cities that offer the app see the number of phone requests drop by 20 to 30 percent and email requests drop by 10 to 20 percent.
• Click here to download the app from the iTunes store
• Click here to download the app for Android
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