An App Will Help City Leaders Gather Input in Biddeford, Maine

A third-party smartphone application is being used to poll residents about pressing city issues. Officials say not everyone has time to attend meetings, so they hope the tool will help reach more residents.

by Gillian Graham, Portland Press Herald / February 1, 2019
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(TNS) — The city of Biddeford, Maine, has started using an app to get input on municipal issues from residents who may not have time to attend meetings.

City Manager James Bennett announced Wednesday that the city is now using Polco to poll residents on issues that impact the government decision-making process.

“Not everyone is able to attend and participate in public meetings, but that doesn’t mean their voices should not be heard,” Bennett said. “With Polco, we can post questions on social media or on our websites to meet residents where they already are.”

The city is currently using Polco to ask residents about which Biddeford parks they use and for what activities.

Biddeford residents can participate by downloading the app to their cellphones or by visiting https://polco.us/groups/city/biddeford-me to register. They will asked to enter information to verify they are registered voters, but that information is not shared and cannot be accessed by the city, according to city officials.

All answers to the poll question are submitted to the city anonymously and users can only see results after they have provided their feedback.

“We hope that these features encourage community members to feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions,” Bennett said.

©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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