Councilors seeking input on mobile city app
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2012
5/18/12 at 5:36 AM
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Creating a smart phone application to allow residents easy interaction with the city, whether it is reporting a pothole or scheduling a tee time at a public golf course, is under way.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett's $703.1 million proposed budget includes $40,000 for the mobile app.
On Thursday, some city councilors discussed their desire to have more local sources involved in the selection process for the project instead of just turning to vendors the city already uses.
"If we have people locally who have that expertise and can develop a really quality product for us, we shouldn't just knee-jerk and go to (city) vendors because that is what we've always done," Councilor G.T. Bynum said during a committee meeting.
"Right now, it just seems to me like unless you are a city vendor it's, 'no thanks,' " he said.
"I think that sends the wrong message to the open-source community here in Tulsa."
Information Technology Director Tom Golliver told councilors he wants to ensure that whatever direction the city takes that it is "fair and equitable."
Councilor Phil Lakin said he met with a nonprofit that is involved in a "hack-a-thon," in which several entities come together for "good hacking" by accessing public information and then providing the public easy access to that information.
Lakin said he would like the application to include pothole reporting.
He said that ideally, if a driver hits a pothole, he or she "could just click a button" that would automatically record with the city an exact location of the pothole.
"If we could start putting those type of tools into the hands of our citizens, I think we could serve them better," he said.
After the meeting, Golliver said there is an app steering committee in place, and internal input from department heads is being sought.
There also is talk of conducting a resident survey to gather input from the public on what residents think should be included in a mobile application, he said.
Golliver said there are cities that have great apps providing "a lot of feature functionality not only for citizens, but for visitors."
"The app can include where to shop, where to dine, a tee time at a golf course, pay a bill, fix a pothole, repair problems, just among some of the items," he said.
Golliver said the city needs to create the app in phases and determine what to include.
P.J. Lassek 918-581-8382