FRESHMAN Councilman Bobby Henon launched "CityHall App," a program similar to the city's planned 3-1-1 app, last month. Though the city has its own app in the works, Henon said he still plans to coordinate with 3-1-1 with his own app.
"I wasn't waiting around," he said. "My intention is to provide a quick and easy service on the run, on the fly. When somebody sees it, they can snap it and send it."
The way Henon's app works is similar to the plans the city has for its 3-1-1 app, allowing residents to snap photos and provide descriptions of problems. Instead of full integration into the 3-1-1 system and automatic service-request creation, however, CityHall App funnels requests to the councilman's staff members, who then call the appropriate department and put service requests into the 3-1-1 pipeline.
Henon said he spent less than $10,000 from private funds to develop the app, which is available on the iPhone. About 400 people have downloaded it since it launched in mid-April, and roughly 150 requests have been submitted.
Competition with the city's upcoming app doesn't worry Henon, and he hopes to expand his own app to other platforms by the end of the summer and enable residents who don't have smartphones to send requests via text message.
"I moved fairly quickly on trying to offer this service," Henon said. "It's my intention to coordinate with 3-1-1 at some point, so I'm hoping to have these conversations as we move forward."
— Morgan Zalot