Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00
On Thursday, Jan. 12, County Executive Edward Mangano announced the ‘soft launch’ of “Nassau Now,” the County’s newest mobile and web application for residents to use an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Android smartphone or tablet to contact Nassau County directly. The government app features requests, events, information, news alerts, traffic advisories, and forms.
The system is up and operational; it is being monitored by system administrators to collect data about how the service is being used and tally the volume of inquiries being submitted through the new application. Mangano expects that there could be some ‘bugs’ to work out of the system within the initial 60 days, but is confident that this will streamline the process and eliminate a lot of liabilities resulting from nonemergency reports, such as a request for pothole repair. The county will assess the service in a couple of months and identify any issues with the software that need to be corrected.Mangano said, “We believe this is definitely creating efficiency, definitely save us man hours, definitely going to reduce paper here in the county in the onset; it has a little bit more transparency because you can really track everything.”
“By virtue of the fact that they are lodging a complaint, they are getting an immediate response that it was received,” Mangano said. Up until now the process of notifying a resident that their request or complaint has been received and is being processed has always been via a written letter, sent to the resident by postal mail. This single step in the process takes more than a week. Mangano said, “We’ve gone from a minimum of a 10-day response to an instantaneous ‘Yes, we’ve received your complaint.’”
Residents will be able to access a calendar of free concerts, holiday shows and firework displays; receive up to the minute alert notifications relating to weather conditions and construction work zones based on your current GPS location; learn about free programs and events happening throughout Nassau County; and even take photos of concerns and send them directly to the department responsible, to ensure immediate attention and repair.
“In today’s tech-focused world, our government has recognized that mobile applications are a great way to connect with the community,” said Mangano. “It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with ‘Nassau Now,’ residents can quickly and easily express their concerns to Nassau County directly by sending a photo and description through the app.”
Mangano restated that this system is not to be used to report criminal activity. This system is to be used as a help line, a communication service with the county about non-emergency matters such as potholes, sign repair, board of election information, tax assessments, etc.
All criminal and emergency communication should continue to be directed to 911, including downed electrical wires.
In addition, if a resident is unsure of the jurisdiction of the incident they are reporting, Mangano assures that the county will do everything possible to redirect the report to the proper authority such as town, or village authorities.
There are other municipalities throughout the country that are using this same service successfully. New York City is using it departmentally for issues such as transportation, but Mangano said Nassau County is the first suburban municipality using this service on such a broad level.
The app can be downloaded at www.nassaucountyny.gov/nassaunow. Residents who do not have access to the mobile app can still use “Nassau Now” through the same website.