8:14am

Tue March 11, 2014
Politics and Government

Oswego city reporting app still a success, even with drawbacks

It's been about six months since the city of Oswego launched a mobile app allowing residents to report problems directly to city departments. The app, which cost $5,000 to build and $2,000 to maintain, has had a reduced number of reports recently, but Common Councilor Eric VanBuren said it has still been helpful for the city.

The home screen of Oswego's City Sourced app.
Credit Jason Smith / WRVO

VanBuren helped get the app passed by the city last fall and said there are more than 400 users of the program.  He said the app has been a good investment even though the winter season has reduced the number of reports received.

"When you get into October and the holiday season, I think people don't use the program as much because they've got a lot more going on that they're not out just walking," VanBuren said. "In the summer, we see a lot of calls because people are out reporting potholes and stuff like that they see, because it's easy for them to just grab it then."

A map of reports on the city app.
Credit Jason Smith / WRVO

VanBuren said the app is helping residents have better interactions with city officials.

"More people are letting us know when there is a problem," VanBuren said. "The department heads are taking to it really well. The traffic department is right on top of it, making sure that people know when they've received the issue and the issues been addressed. I think it's only going to get better as more people become aware of it."  

VanBuren added that the program isn't without its drawbacks. One of the hiccups involves users who may take a picture of a problem while walking or driving, but don't file the complaint until they get home. The app's geo-location system will then track the problem to their home, rather than to where the problem exists. 

VanBuren said the app has also proven to be a small revenue stream, as users are filing complaints against properties with tall grass, high weeds and other fineable offenses.