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City of Beaumont launches smart phone app
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
What used to take a phone call can now be done with the tap of your finger. The City of Beaumont launched a mobile app this week called GoRequest. It allows citizens to report issues they see around the city by taking a picture, entering what type of issue it is, and sending it. The app automatically pinpoints and sends the user's GPS location to 311 request staff.
The City instituted 311 Service in 2008. Beaumont residents can call 3-1-1 or submit requests online.
"311 is a service that allows citizens to make service requests to the city," said City of Beaumont Communications Manager Danielle Underferth. "If they spot an issue or have a problem, they don't have to call around to different departments."
"Now the mobile app allows people to do that on the go, on their phones," she said.
Download "GoRequest," select an issue, snap a photo, and submit. The list of issues includes dead, stray, or aggressive animals, litter, high weeds, junk cars, leaking or discolored water, stopped or overflowing sewage, excess storm water, street maintenance, light, sign or signal maintenance, graffiti, and others.
The City of Beaumont hopes this app will allow more people to use 311 service.
"311 service gets more popular every year," said Underferth. "In 2012, we had 42,000 service requests through 311."
She said the mobile app offers a nice alternative to calling an issue in.
"This is a really nice option if you are more comfortable, you don't want to talk to someone on the phone, you're not near a computer so you're not going to make the request that way. You're right there, you have the app available to you and you can make that request and forget about it."
Before 311, people had to find and call the correct department to handle specific requests.
"And so, with 311 we handle that for you. We make sure the correct request gets to the correct department," said Underferth.
"We've always filled pot holes, we've always handled high weeds, we've always addressed the issue of stray or aggressive animals," said Underferth. "What 311 allows people to do is give us more information. Make us aware of what's happening and give us specific information about location and the specifics of the problem."
She encourages people to use the app, call 311, or submit a request online. Using the app allows people to track the progress of their request.
"No request goes unaddressed, and we will update you, and you can track your request," said Underferth.