Commission eyes app for reporting county issues

Published 1:25 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Covington County Commission is considering bringing in software that will revolutionize the way that citizens report problems in the county.

QScend Technologies, Inc., customizes an app called QAlert that gives residents the ability to communicate with all of the departments in the county through the app.

Commissioner Kyle Adams learned about this app at the National Association of County Commissions Convention in July.

“Back in July I went to Nashville and noticed that QScend was one of the vendors at the convention,” Adams said. “It caught my eye because we have a lot of citizens that can’t call and reach us and would rather send a text or message us through an app.”

The app will be available on all phones because it is available from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Adams said that the app will include all departments, but their main focus will be to help cut wasted time and costs in the road department.

“Lets say if I’m driving down Harmony Road and I see a bunch of potholes,” Adams said. “I would have to call the road department and then they would have to send somebody out there and check if there really is a problem. They would have to come back and tell Lynn Ralls, our county engineer, and then he would send a team of guys out there to fix it.”

Adams said with the app, residents are able to send a picture of the damage with their original message, as well as tag their GPS coordinates.

“With the app, I would be able to take a picture of the damage and tag exactly where I am at,” Adams said. “That way we will be able to send the correct crew out there from the start to fix it, saving a lot of time and money.”

The software allows residents to text message through the app and get on the Covington County website and send messages, and Adams thinks that this will appeal to people of all ages.

“We are in a society now where technology is on the rise,” Adams said. “It won’t only be accessible to younger people. I can see older citizens use this as well because it is not only through the app that they can get stuff done.”

Adams said that the app will help commissioners stay connected with people in their district.

“I will be able to be connected with people in my district a lot easier,” Adams said. “I will be able to look at things that need to be done in my district and know what has to be done instead of having to call Lynn and see how long it will take or where they are at on the project.”

The first payment for the system will include a one-time fee and will total at $4,900. After the original fee it will be $1,000 per month.

“I think we will give it a try for a year and see how it goes,” Adams said. “A lot of counties are transitioning to systems like this and I think it would help a lot of the citizens in Covington County that don’t know how to get in touch with us.”

The commission tabled the decision on the software for the next regular meeting.

“We want to be sure of what we are getting into,” Adams said. “We will have our attorney look at the contracts and make sure that we are making the right decision for our citizens.”

The commission also:

  • Approved merit raises for the probate judge’s office.
  • Agreed to let bids on a tire for a forklift.
  • Agreed to rebid a grater tire bid.
  • Awarded a bid for seed and fertilizer from the Andalusia and Opp Coops.
  • Donated $500 to the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce for the Annual Veteran’s Day Parade.
  • Considered giving appropriations to retired employees of Crosstrails Regional Library.