LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Government launched new online portals and a mobile app Tuesday to improve connectivity and efficiency for citizens and business owners.
The project was approved in 2016. Louisville leaders looked at several other cities that used apps and online portals in order to come up with a strategy and lists of what needed to be included. The project team worked closely with the developer, Accela, for three years to come up with the new Metro311 Online Reporting Portal, new Metro311 mobile app and new Louisville Metro Business Portal, which includes online licenses, permits and applications.
Grace Simrall, the chief of Civic Innovation and Technology for Louisville Metro Government, said as everyone gets used to using websites and apps, it was time for the city to modernize the way citizens and business owners interacted with government.
“I have a smartphone. I have mobile apps. I don’t have to come to a brick-and-mortar location to fill out an application,” Simrall said about the modern online world. “So why can’t government do that for me too? And we said, 'You know what, you’re right.' So we are taking it upon ourselves to modernize the ways the residents and businesses interact with us.”
Everything went offline for a few days, then the new portals and app launched Tuesday. The team with Accella is in Louisville to help monitor and tweak any issues that pop up. Simrall said they need more people to start using the app and portals so they can perfect everything. But so far, she said the launch is going well.
The biggest differences that users will notice, she said, is how simple and user-friendly the app and portals are. And she added that will improve the efficiency of getting work done. For instance, with the business portal, city workers can now do the required work to approve permits from the field, which will help cut down on lag time for business owners. And with the Metro 311 portal and app, public or anonymous requests can be seen by anyone using the app, which should help cut down on duplicate requests.
“So now, you can actually see your request being routed, the comments from the different departments or agencies are making on the request to give regular feedback,” Simrall said.
So far, the city has paid just over $2 million to Accela in operating costs for the subscription. Between the fiscal years 2017 and 2018, a total of $6.2 million was budgeted for this project.
Mitchell Burmeister, the spokesperson for Louisville Metro Emergency Services, said the call center gets between 600 to 1,000 calls each day asking questions or making service requests. The call center is not going away, but he believes more people will start using the app once they see how easy it is.
“We’re excited that now there’s a transparent way that citizen can view that online,” Burmeister said. “They can see the status of their work order, and they can see it in an interactive way with the map.”
The app might not guarantee all service requests will get fixed faster, but it does help streamline the process. Once a request is posted on the app or online, it’ll be routed to the department responsible if it’s linked to a specific category.
Whether requests are made online, on the app, over the phone, through a tweet or live chat, the city will review each one.
“All those service requests are being handled, being looked at by real people,” Burmeister said. “And we’re making sure they’re getting the help they need.”
Business Portal: www.louisvilleky.gov/businessportal
Metro311 Portal: www.louisvilleky.gov/tell311
Metro311 App: www.louisvilleky.gov/government/metro311
Accela support system: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/information-technology-services/supported-systems/accela
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