2018-06-22 / Front Page

Kennebunk launches mobile app

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

Kennebunk has launched a new mobile app, available for download now from the Apple App store and, for Android users, at the Google Play store.

“We discovered through analytics that over 40 percent of people are accessing our website via a mobile device,” the town’s social media coordinator, Karen Winton, said, when unveiling the app at the June 12 selectmen’s meeting.

“That tells us that people are on their phones looking at our website, and while our website is mobile responsive, having an app means that all of the functionality of each item (on the website) is right at your fingertips,” Winton said.

In addition to a sign-up for town alerts and meeting notices, the app also features the ability to send requests to town hall.

“So, if you’re out in town and you see something that needs to be addressed — potholes, street signs that need to be fixed or replaced — you can take a picture of it,” Winton said. “The app will geo-locate the request and send that information to town staff.”

According to Winton, the app was developed by CivicPlus, the same company that handles the town website. It will cost $2,500 per year as part of the town’s contract for web services.

Asked by Selectman Ed Karytko how the app will be monitored to determine a cost-to-benefit, in order to continue the service past the first year, Town Manager Mike Pardue promised periodic review.

“My greatest concern is that it will be so successful with information coming in to us about areas that need attention, that we’ll want to be careful that we do no fall short of expectations (for response time),” he said. “I think it’s going to be a dynamite success.”

“If we get overloaded, I think most of the residents in this town are very good about understanding that we can’t take care of everything at the same time, (as long as) at the very least we get back to them and say, ‘Look, we know it’s there, we have these priorities, and we expect to get to it in a week, two weeks, a month, or whatever,’” Karytko said.

“But what if we get 300 submissions for the same pothole, I can see a lot of staff time sorting all these submissions,” Selectman William Ward said.

But Winton suggested such a response would be unusual, requiring an more far-reaching response.

“If we received 300 complaints about a particular pothole, that might necessitate further communication to the town at large,” she said. “We might send an alert out to everyone of there’s a giant sinkhole somewhere.”

To find the new app on the Apple Store, search for “civic mobile.” The system should prompt users to enter the town name.

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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