Bringing City Services Into the 21st Century
In the third and final segment of the series on New Britain’s SMART City Initiative, we will look into the City’s commitment to bringing city services into the 21st century.
Government at Your Fingertips:
In assuring constituents are able to access city services and information with ease, the City has made significant improvements to multiple technology-based systems.
First, the City completed a transformation of the City of New Britain website in 2016, which is now more user-friendly and offers constituents a broader range of services from behind their computer screen. The site allows for constituents to navigate at ease, pay taxes online, view City Council meetings on live stream, keep up with City social media alerts, download official documents, reference city ordinances, and much more. The company that did the redesign, Granicus, recently led the redesign of a neighboring town’s website, which earned a 2015 Best of the Web award for the design and propriety content management system.
In an effort to bring more transparency to government, the City recently renovated the common council chambers. The chambers are now equipped with two large viewing screens, computers for each member of city council, a projector for presentations being made, upgraded lighting fixtures, a new surround sound system, and a city-operated live stream during all council meetings, enabling residents to tune into the council meetings online at www.newbritainct.gov.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations:
As times continue to change, the City has taken a step forward in assuring the growing number of electric vehicles on the road can be properly serviced and energized when traveling through New Britain. New Britain was selected to receive up to $30,000 of reimbursement through a Connecticut Department of Energy and the Environment program for the installation of three electric charging stations. The electric vehicle charging stations are located at the Szczesny and Blogoslawski parking garages and a dual-head charging port is located at the street level parking lot at 121 Main Street. As more electric vehicles travel our roads, the City has gotten a head start on properly adjusting with the changes in our way of transportation.
Phone Application for Quality of Life Issues
To make the process of reporting different issues or concerns to city officials, the City has introduced a new constituent-friendly cell phone application called “SeeClickFix”. The SeeClickFix application allows for constituents to anonymously post about issues such as blight, pot holes, snow removal issues, graffiti, streetlight outages, and other issues constituents would otherwise have to report to City officials through phone, email, or in person. The reported issues are then publicly mapped on the application with the details of the complaint and even photo evidence if provided. From there, the report is fielded and directed to whichever department is responsible for addressing the issue. The application will help expedite the process the City goes through to address constituent concerns, as well as document everything that is reported.
As the New Year begins and the City aims to continue its aggressive approach in bringing costs down and spurring environmental innovation, Mayor Stewart and the City’s Energy and Innovation Committee want to know what your SMART City ideas are? If you think you have the next bright idea, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.