(TNS) -- From e-mail newsletters to posts on social media, local governments are increasing the ways they communicate with residents.
McCandless is the latest North Hills community to offer a free, direct-messaging smart phone application to provide information ranging from the holiday schedule for trash pick-up to road and bridge closings.
In the next several weeks, the town will begin using the Savvy Citizens mobile app developed by Management Science Associates, a business-to-business technology and analytics company headquartered in Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood.
The company partnered with Pine, Richland and Marshall to test the application for suburban municipalities.
Chuck Warden of Hampton, a MSA account director, said in an age when many people can use their smart phones to access news, sports, weather and stock quotes, municipalities have no immediate way to communicate information such as traffic problems or other public safety events.
“That's the gap that Savvy Citizen will be able to bridge,” Warden said.
John Bojarski, McCandless' communications assistant, said the app will be “another tool” for the town to connect with residents.
“We already have several methods for communicating with residents, including social media,” he said. “While they are good ways to get information out, there's a downside. We can post things to Facebook all day long, but if people aren't looking at it, they're not going to see what we post. With the Savvy Citizen app, residents can automatically get alerts.”
McCandless initially plans to send alerts out for meetings, special events and recreational programs.
The police department already posts information on social media — traffic delays due to construction, accidents or storms; dogs that have been found; and events and activities in which officers participate.
The town administration will coordinate with the police to determine what information will be sent via Savvy Citizen, Bojarski said.
Residents will be able to choose the type of information they receive.
Information on signing up for the free app will be posted on McCandless' website, Facebook page and town publications once it is ready for launch, he said. McCandless will pay $2,500 a year to provide the app to residents.
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