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New Brighton Town Hall meeting April 6
The city of New Brighton will be hosting its 36th Annual Town Hall meeting at the New Brighton Community Center on Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Councilmember Paul Jacobsen said the town hall meeting would be run much the same way as the four neighborhood meetings were in February, where residents can learn about new ventures the city has undertaken and interact with the mayor, council members and city staff.
This year’s meeting will again include a community fair featuring local organizations and service clubs with informational booths onsite. City staff members will be on hand to answer questions people may have on public safety, inspections, utilities, water quality, the New Brighton Exchange or any other concerns. They will also explain new programs and services available to city residents.
There will be booths for the Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Community Development and Public Safety departments as well as a Ramsey County booth. The Community Fair will run from 8 a.m. to noon.
The city will also unveil its new mobile web application Fix 311 that morning. Starting the day of the meeting residents will be able to use the app to report issues like potholes, graffiti or a broken traffic light to the city using a smart phone or other mobile device 24 hours a day.
City Manager Dean Lotter said Fix 311 is designed to automatically notify the right department when a problem is reported using the system. If someone encounters a pothole and takes a photograph or sends in a text using the app, it will instantly notify the public works department, for example.
Fix 311 will pinpoint locations using GPS coordinates and will allow residents to track the progress of a reported issue.
“We’re using the technology to enhance communication and accountability,” Lotter said.
At 8:45 New Brighton IT Coordinator Andre Barte will introduce the new app and present a short tutorial on its uses.
Barte said New Brighton would be using the technology to communicate notices or alerts to the public as well.
“We’ve taken the stance of using it as a two-way system unlike many cities using similar technology,” Barte said. “We want to be able to communicate to the public if we’re sending out snowplows or issuing a crime alert, for example.”
Barte said the new report a problem app will be available for free download starting on April 6. A link to Fix 311 will be provided on the newly updated city of New Brighton webpage. The app will be available to users on just about any smart phone or handheld gadget, whether it is an iPhone, iPad, Android or other device.
Following Barte’s Fix 311 presentation city staff will announce the results of the 2013 National Research Center’s (NRC) New Brighton Resident Survey.
Jacobsen said 1,200 randomly selected households within the city were mailed the survey. He said 372 residents responded to the survey, which is the first the city has sent out since 2006.
The survey was designed to solicit responses to 48 questions relating to the quality of services in New Brighton and to compare the quality of life in the city to other communities in the state and around the nation.
The survey’s results showed positive resident opinion on quality of life in New Brighton; performance of elected officials and city staff; characteristics of the community such as quality parks and trails, effective public safety; and a healthy mix of businesses and housing.
“The survey allows us to get a sense of how people feel about the quality of services in the city,” Jacobsen explained. “We were pleasantly surprised with the survey’s results, but not too surprised. We know it’s a great place to live and that’s why we live here.”
After the survey results are presented there will be a 30-minute break at the meeting starting at 10:15 a.m., which will be followed by a question and answer period with the mayor and city council.
The meeting will conclude with a free lunch offered to anyone who completes a brief evaluation on the meeting.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7824.