Reporting Issues to the County From Your Smartphone

Reporting Issues to the County From Your Smartphone

Smartphone Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comBy Zach Friend, County Supervisor 2nd District

Smartphone Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comWith the recent rains, roadway issues (including potholes) are starting to pop back up. Additionally, non-emergency tree trimming needs, sign damage and more become more common.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve held a number of community meetings and generally questions arise about the best way to make a report on some of these issues. Many of these issues, and more, can be reported directly from your smartphone through the County’s free Citizen Connect mobile app.

Available for download on iTunes and Google Play (or right from the county’s website – santacruzcounty.us), the app connects residents to their government through smart phones and other mobile devices, allowing you to report issues and receive updates on the status of these reported issues.

What can be reported?

Here is a list of the many things you can report directly from your phone:

  • Potholes (allows you to take a photo to show Public Works the severity)
  • Street sign issues (down, missing or damaged street signs)
  • Tree trimming or brush clearing needs
  • Abandoned vehicles (vehicles parked on streets for more than 72 hours)
  • Dead deer or birds
  • Encampments
  • Illegal dumping (trash on roadways)
  • Sewer spills
  • Stagnant water (pooling of water, ditches)
  • Pests (rodents, ticks, mosquitoes)
  • Environmental health concerns and food borne illnesses
  • Illegal cannabis grows
  • Graffiti
  • Storm damage

What else is available on the app?

The app can be used for more than just reporting issues to the County. For example, Citizen Connect has elections information including election results, polling place lookup information, the ability to register to vote or confirm that you are registered. The County’s new strategic plan is also available through the app. Here is a list of additional things you can do:

  • Locate nearby parks including all of their available amenities
  • Look up parcel information
  • Obtain restaurant inspection reports
  • Schedule a building inspection
  • Check your Planning Department application status
  • Check out employment opportunities with the County
  • View/pay tax bills
  • Check vacation rental contacts (for local vacation rentals)

The system is designed to allow for greater interactivity between the County and our residents – so when you report a pothole, for example, you will receive updates about the status of your report so you that the request has been received and know when it has been filled.

It also allows you to submit photos so that the County can triage issues and also catalog issues for proactive work. When I brought forward an item a few years ago to the Board of Supervisors to create the app it was in response to requests from constituents that wanted a simpler way to access County services – especially during non-work hours.

While the app has been downloaded by many residents, and has become one of the most common ways these reports are made, I’ve found that many still aren’t aware that it exists. In a recent community meeting we held with Public Works, they said it is one of the fastest ways to report non-emergency issues (and have them addressed).

As always, if there is a road issue/hazard that needs to be addressed immediately, you can call the 24-hour Public Works Dispatch line at 477-3999. If an issue is an emergency you can also call 911. The app should be used for non-emergency needs.

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The County is continuing to expand features. If you have suggestions for additional features please feel free to call me at 454-2200.

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