City of Vidalia Launches TextMyGov
The City of Vidalia is launching a new instant connection between the local government and citizens through the use of the new TextMyGov program. The service allows citizens to receive information about the area, as well as notify officials of issues.
Mayor Doug Roper spoke on the new development. 'We are excited to announce a new product to the citizens of Vidalia,” he said. “This new texting service will provide enhanced communication between our city government and our citizens. Not only will this service allow for ease of informational reporting for our citizens, it will also streamline the process internally by assuring the right department is notified based on the information being reported.”
Roper added, “I would encourage all citizens to sign up for this service and utilize the benefits it provides. We view this tool as a way to not only strengthen our communication with our citizens, but also increase the ease in which it is done.'
This new notification system allows the City to notify citizens of instantaneous events – road closures, water leaks, etc. – through a text message. “This allows us to let people know when there is immediate pertinent information for the community,” City Manager Nick Overstreet commented. The City also plans to send out reminders of events through this communication.
To opt into this service, individuals should text “VIDALIAGENERAL” to 91896.” After sending the initial message, TextMyGov will respond and prompt users to text back “YES” to subscribe to alerts. Another element of the program that Overstreet finds beneficial is the informative and interactive option: citizens may text (912) 405-9992 with key words to learn about the local government or to report issues. “For example, if anyone wanted to learn about their City elected officials, they could text ‘elected officials’ to that number, and it would reply with a link to the city’s webpage with that information,” Overstreet explained. “Another function of this is that if someone found a pothole throughout town, after reaching their destination, they can text the number the word ‘pothole’ and the location of the issue, and it sends it straight to the appropriate department.”
Overstreet said the system has been loaded with several key words to direct users to the needed link; yet, as words that aren’t included in the original setup are used, they may be added to the forum. Issues that may be reported through this medium include water leaks, power outages, sewer problems, roadway destruction, and other matters of this nature. Overstreet emphasized the need for citizens to refrain from both texting while driving and using the text system as a replacement for a 911 call.
“This is not a replacement for the use of emergency dispatch,” he clarified. “If you are experiencing a true emergency – like a house fire or health crisis – contact 911 rather than the text forum. This is just a way to connect citizens with their government and help them to be more involved and informed in the community.” Citizens may begin utilizing this service on Wednesday, March 30. Citizens who have questions are asked to call Vidalia City Hall.