How to keep citizens notified about the city council and planning commission public hearings – automatically

When a citizen asks to be kept up-to-date about a case, what do you do?  

For many the answer is to get their contact information, put them on a list, and when there’s an update to share, manually reach out to each citizen.

It’s an important task, but is time intensive for cities, susceptible to human error and can be missed when staff is burdened with a heavy workload of other administrative tasks.

Citizens don’t just want to be kept up-to-date about specific cases. There’s a broad range of when citizens want information:

  • When a project is proposed near to where I work and live

  • What initiatives are happening generally in my city

  • When are there proposals about a  specific topic important to me

All these different use cases can be handled by software, automating the process of keeping citizens up-to-date, increasing the consistency, and eliminating the burden for the city staff.

Today we launched the first of several tools planned for keeping citizens updated.

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How it works:

  • On each case page, citizens can subscribe for updates by submitting an email address.

  • After the public hearing is completed and a decision is made, staff updates the status of the case and the system automatically sends an email to the citizens that have subscribed.

  • Staff can see a list of all the subscribers for a given case within the admin tool.

Now we’re exploring how to best address other cases like those we outlined above.

We’re excited to see how automating the process of keeping citizens up-to-date helps citizens and staff!