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Pooler OKs contract for development of city mobile app

Officials in Pooler this week opened up a new line of communication between the city and its residents.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Pooler City Council members approved a contract with Next Wave Designs for the development of a mobile application for the city. The cost in the first year is $2,150 — $1,250 for building the app and a $75 monthly maintenance fee. Pooler IT Director Charles Jones said the app could be up and running in a matter of months.

According to a summary of the app provided by Next Wave representative David Pommenville, Pooler officials can use it to pass along information like road closures, council meetings and community events. An existing cell phone app for the city’s recreation department has been used to alert the public about game cancellations and sign-up deadlines, along with other information, Pommenville wrote.

“A great aspect of this app will also be the ability to pay utility bills from their phone,” he wrote in an email to the city earlier this month. “The app will have a link right to the online bill pay feature that is on the website. … This prevents people from having to come to city hall in person to pay. It makes everything more convenient. The App will be a one-stop-shop for all city info.”

Jones said that while the app will be similar to the city’s website, it provides city residents with a smart phone access to the city’s services with a single click, or in this case, touch.

“We’re just giving the residents another avenue to reach out and get information from the city,” Jones said. “It also affords the opportunity to go ahead and make payment arrangements for their water bill, shign up for utilities — basically it’s going to mirror everything that’s on a mobile website, but it’s an app where it’s one touch and it’s good to go.”

Like the app developed for the recreation department about two years ago, Jones said, the city’s app will provide for the sale of ad space to offset some of the costs. But the true aim of the app is to create a new way of reaching the public, he said.

Meanwhile, the city is also preparing to rebuild it’s public website and bring it up to more modern standards. Up until a few days ago the site had been down, a problem Jones attributed to its hosting platform.

“We’re just moving along,” he said. “We’re going to go with bigger, better. It’s going to look a lot more user friendly, it’s going to be easier to navigate, it’s going to be a lot more modern.”

In other business Tuesday, the council:

• Approved a clearing and grading plan for Phase I of the S.H. Morgan Industrial Park and for its south access road off S.H. Morgan Parkway.

• Voted to recombine three undeveloped portions of the Roberts Tract on Jimmy DeLoach Parkway for future use as an distribution warehouse.

• Signed off on preliminary construction plans for Phase 6 of the Hunt Club subdivision on Jimmy DeLoach Parkway and for Phase 4 of the Harmony subdivision off Quacco Road.

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