City street sign, lighting problems in Macon can be reported online

Use of SeeClickFix lets residents send pictures, locations

jgaines@macon.comMay 9, 2013 

SeeClickFix, which has let Macon residents report problems to the Public Works Department since April 2012, has been expanded to cover the Central Services Department.

Now people can report problems with street lights, street painting, traffic signs and signals.

There are several ways to use SeeClickFix: through the “Report an Issue” button on the city website, www.cityofmacon.net; by typing the problem location into www.seeclickfix.com, or by using the free iPhone, Android or Blackberry apps available on the SeeClickFix website.

Residents without computer or smartphone access still can report issues to the city by calling the city’s customer service desk at 751-7400.

Administration officials told Macon City Council’s Community Resources & Development Committee about the expansion at the start of April, said Chris Floore, the city’s Public Affairs director.

And shortly afterward Councilwoman Lauren Benedict, chairwoman of the committee, made use of it.

“I had used SeeClickFix several times before that,” she said. “But that was the first time I had used it for an issue Central Services would deal with.”

Driving home from work about 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, Benedict saw a tree had fallen on a stop sign. She took a picture of the storm damage and submitted it, along with a GPS tag of the location, through her smartphone.

“It took me maybe five minutes to do it,” Benedict said.

By 10 a.m. Wednesday, she got an email telling her the issue had been fixed. When she drove by later in the day, she saw the stop sign back up, and the fallen tree had been cut and awaiting pickup.

“To me, that is a great thing for members of the community, that they can see the city is responding to an issue they have reported,” Benedict said. Notice is almost as important as the work, because it makes it more likely that people will report problems again, she said. Public help is necessary, since city workers can’t be everywhere all the time to spot problems, Benedict said.

Now that the Central Services component is up and running, city officials are publicizing it, Floore said.

Public Works issues that people could report included pavement and trash problems, drainage issues, dead animals in the road and fallen trees. Now street-sign problems, graffiti removal and lighting issues can be sent to Central Services through SeeClickFix, too.

Next up will be adding code enforcement issues, handled by the city’s Economic & Community Development Department, Floore said.

“We don’t have a set time line on that one,” he said.

That will let people report abandoned vehicles, burned-out or abandoned houses, and overgrown or garbage-strewn vacant lots.

That will be an important addition, since such issues cause lots of frustration in Macon, Benedict said.

“Code enforcement issues are slow to get resolved because of the legal process,” she said. Reporting problems through SeeClickFix will help ECD staff immediately record specific violations, which should help speed things up, Benedict said.

The first year of the program is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Knight Fund for Macon at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. The city itself is budgeting money to continue in the next fiscal year, Floore said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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