WARSAW – Turns out, the city’s effort a few years ago to build out an extensive list of online services, including livestreaming public meetings, is coming in handy during the pandemic.
A few thousand people viewed the city’s broadcast of last week’s local news conference concerning COVID-19, and a city spokesperson said they are seeing more and more use of online services after the city temporarily ceased normal office hours during the state-wide health emergency.
The next news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 15, at Warsaw City Hall and will include participation from Mayor Joe Thallemer, Kosciusko County Commissioner Cary Groninger, Kosciusko County Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rob Parker and county Health Officer Dr. William Remington.
Wednesday’s news conference will be broadcast live and available on-demand on the city’s website at warsaw.in.gov/watchcitymeetings. It will also be broadcast live on the City of Warsaw, IN Facebook page.
The city began working several years ago to make sure every city board meeting is available online to the public and has expanded to include numerous emergency online alerts.
Officials quickly realized it made sense to use the livestream for the COVID-19 news conferences.
Last week’s news conference received 3,088 views. Most of that came from Facebook. More than 500 used the city’s livestream website.
“I do think that is a really good reach in a community of our size,” said Staci Young, assistant to Mayor Thallemer.
The news conferences provide the most up-to-date and accurate local information that isn’t available on regional television networks or on social media, she pointed out.
“In two weeks, we’ve seen growth in those numbers, and we expect that growth to continue each week. It has been a valuable way to get accurate information into the hands of residents when there is a lot of conflicting and confusing information floating around,” Young said.
With the enhancements in the city’s online capabilities, as well as a new server network, most of our essential business can be handled from off-site, allowing the city to continue operating fairly normally during this time, she said.
In addition to bill paying and online job applications, the city has a Request Tracker tool on the website for residents to submit concerns or requests and they are routed to the appropriate department for handling.
Also, most forms needed to conduct business with the city are on the website, so that residents can continue to move forward while our offices are closed to the public (i.e. fence permits, building permits, etc.), Young said in a statement to InkFreeNews.