Nearly three months after the PublicStuff system launched in Dormont, borough manager Jeff Naftal is declaring the system a success.
“We’ve seen some real benefit already to having this in place,” Naftal said. "People have been using it and we've addressed several things."
PublicStuff—which allows residents to report code violations, service requests, complaints and other concerns, and track responses to their messages—became available in Dormont on Oct. 1. Residents submitted 69 requests in October and 42 in November. Total numbers for December were not immediately available.
“That’s pretty good,” Naftal said. “We want to keep that up because the more we know about, the more we can fix and address. It allows us to be not just reactive to requests, but proactive.”
The system has been most successful in two ways, Naftal said. The first is in reporting illegal parking on West Liberty Avenue during rush hour, and the second is addressing improper parking on the borough’s residential streets.
“Because of the application, people have been submitting things that went right to the police department, and police were responding within a minute,” Naftal said. “You can go through there in rush hour and you rarely see cars illegally parked. You’re still seeing it, but you’re not seeing it as much.”
In recent weeks, he said, the reports mainly were about snow and ice removal. In this case, the borough’s street department will typically address the PublicStuff reports after completing their normal routine of snow plowing and salting.
“This system allows the street department to know where the issues are that are causing problems for residents in specific areas, and they can address those issues in their response to other snow removal and salting duties,” Naftal said.
When a resident posts a report on PublicStuff, the report is sent to department supervisors who determine the best response method. Supervisors can leave comments on reports noting when the issue will be addressed. Naftal also tracks response times.
He said ultimately, he’d like to see an increase in the number of people using the system.
“The more the better,” he said. “We can’t be everywhere all the time and we can’t know everything. If people use this product, it’s going to allow us to catch things faster and fix things faster. Not everything is immediately resolvable, but at least we’ll be able to address it.”
PublicStuff can be used via cell phone or computer. To get the smart phone app or use the system online, see the PublicStuff web page for Dormont Borough.