County OKs new app to improve communication

Published 1:32 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

After testing numerous citizen driven apps, the Covington County Commission voted Tuesday to enter a contract for QScend Technologies’ QAlert.

QAlert will give residents the ability to communicate with all of the departments in the county through the app.

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

“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 Store.

County administrator Karen Sowell researched several other apps and found that QScend would be the best bang for the buck.

“The one that we looked at was not the same quality of app as QScend,” Sowell said. “We have searched and looked at several other companies and Qscend is definitely one of the better ones that we have seen. The last one that we looked at we were hoping that it would be the same thing, but it was not as good as QScend.”

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

The software allows residents to text message through the app, visit the Covington County website, and send messages.

Commissioner Kenneth Northey said he was excited to be moving forward with updated technology.

“I’m not up to date with the current technology,” Northey said. “But people are moving forward with it and it’s good that we are.”

There is a one-time fee for the software that will total $4,900 and then fees for meetings and training for the app will cost $3,500, so the first initial payment will total at $8,400. After that initial payment, it will cost $1,000 per month for a one-year contract.

Adams said that after the initial payment, it should not take long to implement the software.

“It shouldn’t take less than 60 days,” Adams said. “Then we should have it up and running.”

The commission also:

• Considered a resolution of support for a courthouse grant application.

• Donated vehicles to the Town of Lockhart and in home services.

• Approved an ABC License Transfer for the Hall Country Store.

• Agreed to solicit bids for an herbicide truck for the engineer’s department.

• Approved for four school resource officers to use their comp time before their vacation time.