City services at the touch of a smartphone app

Need to pay your Lancaster utility bill, report a mammoth pothole, apply for a city job or scope out festival details?
There’s now an app for that.
City IT director Jarvis Driggers presented the Red Rose City’s new mobile app at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“This is a living and breathing app,” Driggers said. “This app’s going to change. It’s going to change daily, weekly and monthly, and it’s going to change to the events and what’s going on in the city at the time.”
Driggers said the goal of the app is to provide easy, at-your-fingertips communication between citizens and city government. Although the app is not replacing any current means of reporting issues or accessing events and maps, he said it allows smartphone and tablet users access to information they need at any time, no matter where they are.
Driggers said the development of the app began in February and took four months to complete. The entire job was done in-house for approximately $425, Driggers said.
The idea was to have all features in one place for users on the go. Users can even access the city’s website within the app.
For city residents, the app is useful for utility payments and the problem reporter.
“Security is paramount to the success of the app,” Driggers said.
Since users will be entering in personal information for payments or employment applications, Driggers said the app works through secure servers managed by the IT department.
The problem reporter feature allows issues in the city to be reported without having to access a computer. Users can report road, trash and utility issues. The location technology built into the app shows within feet of where the issue is reported.
After the issue is reported, the user will receive a notification that the report was received and another when the issue is resolved, Driggers said.
He said this feature takes away the confusion of what department to contact.
The user simply has to report the issue and the city will take care of it, Driggers said.
Users can report issues as a guest or by signing in with a username and password.
The city is also able to send out notifications directly to phones or tablets with same-day announcements, like for events or city office closings.
Geo-fencing, a software feature that defines geographical boundaries, can allow users to receive notifications when they enter city limits.
Those notifications can remind citizens and visitors of festivals or parades within the city, which can help avoid traffic or road closings.
Tourists and new residents can become more acquainted with the city through the app’s directory, events and city services features.
The events and city services tabs directs users to information provided on the city’s website.
To download the mobile app, visit the app store and search “City of Lancaster SC.”

By Hannah Strong, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News