New programs available soon for your community!
By Cliff Palmer
One of the missions of LaMATS is to serve as a clearinghouse for ideas to meet the needs for improved local governance. Each year, LaMATS evaluates several suggestions received by clerks, mayors and council members. Here are a couple of new services we are developing that should be available in 2016.
Nuisance Abatement (“Overgrown Lot”) Program: Every community in the state has “troubled” properties that create a real nuisance to their residents in the form of health and safety, crime, lower property values, and lost tax revenues. LaMATS is developing a service to assist municipalities with updating local code ordinances, establish a full-service and transparent process to augment municipal staff efforts, and are looking at creative ways to help indentify needed funding. In short, LaMATS would serve as the coordinator of the municipality’s process of working with property owners who have allowed their property to become overgrown beyond the limits allowed by local code. The many steps involved in carrying out this service range from contacting property owners, managing work-flow, providing opportunities for the property owner to pay the fees/fines, and assisting the municipality with filing liens and conducting tax sales, where necessary (please see flow diagram below). LaMATS is working with the mayor and council of the City of Baker to demonstrate the service through a pilot project. If successful, the service may be available to other communities next year.
3-1-1 Nonemergency Resident Reporting System: To assist local government with managing the flow of information between its residents and municipal officials, LaMATS is developing a 3-1-1 system for callers to report nonemergency matters ranging from potholes, downed trees, unsafe sidewalks and links to utility providers. It also serves to reroute calls going to 9-1-1 operators and limited city/town staff when the requests are informational in nature and can be addressed by the service. Resident will have 27/7 access to their local government via a call center, on-line website, and a mobile app to report and obtain timely updates. A key component is having a call center located outside of the reporting area in the event of severe weather that might knock out service and prevent operators from handling calls. Another important aspect is how the service can reduce risk of claims against injury and negligence by having a greater awareness of the problems and hazards when reported by citizens, and then promptly addressed by the most appropriate municipal department. This will boost public confidence, encourage business investment, and raise overall quality of life in a community. LaMATS is in the early planning stages of demonstrating this in the City of Vidalia. If you are interested in discussing these developing services, please contact Cliff Palmer, Executive Director, LaMATS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to view flowchart.
Click to view slide deck.