Marion County launched a new app Wednesday called Citizen Solution Center as a new method for people to submit nonemergency issues.
Tom Northey, IT director of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, said the app was created within the county’s IT department after hearing about Orange County’s community app. In the past, he said residents relied on phone call and emails, which aren’t as timely.
“With this app, we’re trying to give them another outlet to contact departments directly,” he said.
The app offers multiple categories for submitting a request that span from reporting stray dogs to sighting potholes on roads. Requests can be made every day and at any time.
In the past two days, Northey said he has received about 18 concerns total, with most of them revolving around road and tree-related issues.
Photos and GPS locations are also available when residents submit a request through the app. Northey said these tools not only make it easier for the residents to submit a request, but they also help speed up the process.
Residents who have downloaded the app receive updates from departments on weekdays. The app is compatible with any cellphone or computer that is connected to the internet.
Those who submit requests will also receive status updates through email. The locations for currently submitted requests are made visible through a live map.
Northey said the app underwent test runs for months and included a live test run where residents in Marion County were able to provide their own feedback centered around the app’s interface and navigation.
He said the biggest challenges in the creating the app were pinpointing the common categories departments normally hear from. Although there aren’t any specific updates in mind yet, he said the team is looking to add more features.
Suzie Futch, transportation administration manager at Marion County’s Office of the County Engineer, said the office has received seven requests, including to fix potholes, trim trees and level the roads.
Futch said the requests are still in progress at the moment, and has not heard any feedback from people using the app.
Before the launch, she said the office successfully applied two test runs in order to ensure that the app is effective.
Michelle Stone, a Marion County resident and commissioner-elect, found out about the new app through Facebook.
Stone downloaded the app but hasn’t submitted a request yet. She thinks the ability to submit a request 24/7 is helpful and encourages residents to report incidents because of the app’s easy interface.
“I love that we as a county are being proactive and seeking feedback from the community,” she said.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. Information received from Marion County originally stated that the majority of concerns submitted were related to abandoned property, but the majority of concerns have actually been road and tree-related.