WarrenApril 2, 2012
Council approves expansion of ‘Q-Alert’ program
By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer
WARREN — Need to report a pothole, tall grass or a missed garbage pickup? The city of Warren has an app for that.
On March 27, members of the Warren City Council voted unanimously to approve an expenditure of $18,000 for a Q-Alert mobile management application for iPad that will enable city workers to track service requests in real time while on the go.
The application expands the city’s year-old Q-Alert system, through which residents can already use the Internet, an iPhone or Android-powered device to submit 400 types of service requests across 17 city departments.
The council also approved a one-time expenditure of $4,900 to brand the city’s own “3-1-1 Citizen responder,” an app residents can now use to interface with the Q-Alert Citizen Response Management system.
City of Warren CitiStat coordinator and analyst James Hartley told council members the apps would allow residents to seamlessly integrate with the city’s system, enabling them to send photos and a description of the service request.
The CRM system also would allow the city to respond as efficiently as possible with its various resources.
While residents will still be able to call City Hall directly with service requests, Hartley said many residents simply don’t know which department to call to solve a specific problem. The CRM system takes care of that automatically.
“It’s really not their responsibility to know what department handles a fallen tree limb, as opposed to handling a sanitation issue, as opposed to filling a pothole,” Hartley said. “It seamlessly gets routed exactly to the place it’s supposed to go.”
Not only will residents still be able to call City Hall, Hartley said they’ll now be able to dial “311” within the city through a growing list of phone providers — including Sprint, Comcast and WOW — to reach city offices directly.
Council member Keith Sadowski said the Q-Alert system has been easy to use so far and is a convenient way to request services.
“It’s nice to be able to stand there with a resident and punch in the complaint, with photos, and have a response from the administration saying we have received your file, and they know it’s being taken care of,” Sadowski said.
Council member Steven Warner said he spoke to residents about the Q-Alert program during the campaign last year.
“It utilizes 17 city departments and over 400 different types of services. That’s kind of hard to comprehend at first, but when you explain it to them, they’re just amazed at how it was deployed over the last couple of years and developed,” Warner said. “It’s going to be a very helpful tool to utilize city services and complaints.”
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