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90 people reporting problem spots using Brookline's smartphone app

Posted by Brock Parker  January 20, 2012 11:35 AM

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About 90 people have downloaded Brookline’s new "BrookONline" citizen reporter smartphone app that allows them to report everything from broken streetlights to potholes spotted around town.

Brookonlineapp.jpgThe app, which can be downloaded by anyone with an iphone or Android smartphone, allows users to photograph a problem spot and request the town to fix it.

Brookline’s Chief Information Officer Kevin Stokes said more than 200 requests for service have been made through the system since the beginning of September.

BrooklineApp2.jpgThe town notifies the citizen reporters about the status of the repairs, such as when a pothole is expected to be fixed, and then notifies the reporters again when the work is completed and the request is closed.

The service requests can also be followed on Brookline’s website at http://spot.brooklinema.gov/ as part of the town’s new “BrookONline” initiative that is seeking to make it easier for people to interact with the town online.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Stokes said. “There’s a segment of the population that that is how they are comfortable with communicating.”

Many of the service requests made through the smartphone app or online can be addressed within 24 to 48 hours, Stokes said. Some problems spots, such as graffiti or a broken streetlight, could take a little longer if police need to investigate or a utility company needs to get involved.

Since the summer, the town has been building up the services offered through the BrookONline portal on the town’s website, which allows residents to sign up for email notifications about specific local board and committee meetings as well as pay bills online and set up automated payments.

Eventually, Stokes said residents will be able to pay all of their bills with the town, from property taxes to parking fines, by logging in one time.

Residents can continue to make the payments or request for services via the mail or by making a phone call, but Stokes said the website improvements are needed to keep the town’s online experience on par with private company websites and public expectations.

--brock.parker@gmail.com

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