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Meridian, Miss., Considers Emergency Push Notification App

A cellphone app to enhance communication with the public is being discussed by city leaders. The tool would alert residents about important public safety events and emergency situations.

by Erin Kelly, The Meridian Star / December 12, 2019

(TNS) — Meridian city leaders are considering a new cellphone app to better communicate with the public.

The app was discussed at a city work session Tuesday.

The city would be able to send push notifications to residents about emergencies, road closures, paving announcements, school closings, and other events, said Brandon Thomas with Leading Edges, an advertising firm.

Residents could also use the app to report issues to the city, leaders said.

A third party would provide the app and the city would pay $3,500 for the initial setup and $11,000 a year, according to Doug Stephens, the city's public safety director.

Ward 3 City Council Member Fannie Johnson questioned whether the app would be the best use of city money.

“$11,000 doesn’t sound like a lot on the surface, but $11,000 may be able to go somewhere else, unless you can tell me what population this is going to reach that we can’t reach some other way,” she said.

Mayor Percy Bland said the technology would help the city share and receive important information.

“At the end of the day, we don’t have any way to engage or to let people know in the city or the county by an app device,” he said.

The city and Leading Edges would be responsible for marketing the app, the mayor said.

“It’s kind of exciting, especially if we can get the community to buy into it because this will give our citizens an opportunity to report things like potholes, to get notifications as it relates to things that are happening in the city,” said Ward 4 City Council Member Kim Houston, following the meeting.

©2019 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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