City app has fastest, best way to make complaint

HARLINGEN — The city’s going high tech and the intent is to help residents.

Tomorrow, officials are expected to unveil a new mobile app developed to aid residents who want to file complaints and request services at City Hall.

“More and more people have access to smart devices — cell phones, laptops and such. So we wanted to create another venue citizens could use to access our website and give us input,” Assistant City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said yesterday. “I think it’s a great thing to increase communications between residents and the city.”

The app, developed by E-Gov Link, costs $2,500 along with a $1,000 annual maintenance fee, said Sergio Mujica, the city’s management information systems director.

The app is available to be downloaded free of charge to anyone at the Google play store, where it is available for use with Androids and iPhones.

“It’s a great convenience for citizens to make requests,” Mujica said. “It’s a fast, more convenient way to find out who you can call (at City Hall). This is not replacing how we do business. It’s just an additional convenience.”

Residents can use the app to file complaints and request services from several city departments.

Complaints can include brush pick-ups, building code violations, dead animals, mosquitoes and junk cars.

Mujica said a survey found 41 percent of residents use their cell phone to access the city’s website, which receives 800 daily hits.

“We expect quite a bit of activity,” he said, referring to the new app.

The app allows residents to register geographic locations to submit photographs of sources of complaints, from potholes to non-operating traffic lights.

“This mobile app will pin-point on the map where the activity is coming from,” Mujica said.

Residents can anonymously submit their complaints and requests.

How it works

The app allows residents to select city departments to address their complaint and requests.

Mujica said the app assigns complaints and requests to department supervisors.

Meanwhile, it allows residents to request emailed responses to their complaint and request.

Other features

The app includes several other features aimed at streamlining communications between residents and City Hall.

While offering information on city job openings, the app also accepts online payments of municipal court fines and even allows residents to check out books at the Harlingen Public Library.

At City Hall, some officials will even use the app.

Now, the code enforcement department is preparing to use the app to issue letters citing residents with code violations, Mujica said.

More Information

Download by going to Google Play Store or the itunes marketplace and search ‘City of Harlingen’

The app is compatible with both Androids and iPhones