Help from city hall: Hamilton phone/computer app makes requests easy

Help is at hand for Hamilton residents, people who work in the city and even motorists who regularly drive through the Butler County seat.

A new computer- and mobile-phone computer application called “311 Hamilton” will go live today, allowing people to quickly and easily tap out in a few words, or more, a problem they have, such as a burned-out street light, flooding, a pothole, even drug sales or prostitution they see happening.

“We are going live on Monday,” said Jacob Stone of Hamilton’s neighborhood services department, which will respond to some of the complaints, such as illegal dumping in the city. “That’ll be both on the Apple and Android store. They should be showing up sometime during the day.”

The app itself is free. Once at the app stores, search for: 311 Hamilton.

The product comes from a company called CitySourced, at an annual cost of $15,200, plus a one-time setup cost of $3,500.

The city previously has used a more-difficult-to-use, and more-difficult-to-explain computer program it also called 311, but officials believe this one will be far easier for the general public to use. They also will let people quickly attach photos or videos to illustrate exactly what they are talking about so there is less confusion.

For one thing, there’s less guesswork involved: Rather than guessing what part of city government is involved, people now will be able to choose categories of requests and suggestions by what kind of situation is involved.

Many requests will be visible to other users of the app. For example, if someone reports a traffic signal has a burned-out light at a certain intersection, others who want to tell the city about it will see that someone also has submitted a notification. The other users still will be able to turn in duplicate notifications.

Other issues, such as complaints about drugs or other crimes, will go only to Hamilton police detectives, and not visible to the public.

The 311 system is not intended to replace the city’s emergency 911 system, which should continue to be used when people need immediate assistance or when there is an emergency.

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