Increasing Resident Communications and Online Services

By Clarissa Nolde & Jeff Jotz

Living in the throes of the Information Age, many of us have seen an amazing transformation in technology that can deliver a pallet of goods to your home in two days or have a doctor diagnose your medical problems from across the continent.

Governmentespecially local governmenthas often been the last to adopt new technologies. Statutory requirements, collective bargaining agreements and the culture of doing things “the way they’ve always been done” can hamstring local governments from fully connecting with constituents who have grown used to 24/7 global connectivity.

In Garwood, we have a new Borough Administrator and Borough Clerk, who bring new ideas and energy and have the potential to work with the Borough Council and local residents to provide services that go beyond the typical 9-5 workday.

We are pleased to see that Council and Planning meetings are now live-streamed on YouTube, with the ability of the public and Borough officials to join the meeting via Zoom. If elected, we wish to assist our new employees with further transparency, accountability and convenience. This includes exploring the possibility of conducting Borough business like obtaining licenses and paying for related services through the Borough’s website (or even a dedicated Garwood app). We’d like to see the website or app give citizens the ability to search building permits and property records, rather than schedule a visit to Borough Hall during business hours. Not only would this free up time for Borough employees, but it would also improve customer service and potentially save taxpayer dollars if implemented correctly.

We look forward to discussing these and other possibilities to increase communications with residents with everyone as we meet with our neighbors across Garwood.