The Baldwin County Commission’s website is loaded with information.
“If you’ve been to our website, you know how large of a data pool it is,” Communications & Information Systems (CIS) Director Brian Peacock said. “Even though we streamlined it about three and a half years ago, there’s still a lot of information out there.”
Peacock said he and other officials wanted to make getting vital information off the website faster by developing an app that would concentrate on services and information most often sought by citizens.
“I had been approached by some constituents wanting the ability to receive notifications for meetings,” Peacock said. “We sat down and kind of did some brainstorming and if we were going to use a listserv to send that out. Then we decided not only to formulate notification of meetings that are coming up, but also into a mobile app where we could provide more information.”
It will be released in phases with additions planned during the upcoming months. The first phase is expected to be out in about a week.
“With the mobile app, what I was hoping to achieve was a way for citizens and visitors to the county to get quick access to the information they were interested in,” Peacock said. “Most people who visit the app aren’t going to be looking for department information such as personnel, building inspection and things like that. They are wanting to know what’s going on with the county, where do I go get my tags renewed, where do I pay my property tax.”
Peacock and others are finalizing the first round, which will be meeting notices.
“We’re going to release the push notifications and [allow people] to view the upcoming meetings; we’re ready to release that now,” Peacock said.
It’s expected to be available on Android phones almost immediately, but iPhone users will have to wait a little longer.
“Google will pretty much let you push that out immediately,” Peacock said. “Apple kind of has a review process. We’ll send them that application, they’ll review it. If we have to tweak anything on their request, they’ll send it back to us and we’ll make the tweaks and submit it again.”
Peacock says he is looking forward to adding an internet TV station to the site to share information as well and be reachable through the app.
“Bids were approved on a media streaming channel that we will be implementing,” he said. “This will be a cloud-based media channel where users can log-in and view prerecorded commission meetings, prerecorded planning and zoning meetings. We’ll be able to break into those prerecorded meetings with live events such as our commission meetings and planning and zoning meetings we are now streaming on Facebook.”
All of this, he said, is an effort by the commission to give citizens a look at how their government is working.
“The biggest thing is, again, the commission tried to provide transparency to let the citizens know what’s going on with the county,” Peacock said. “We’re not really going to be providing any new information we’re just going to be giving the citizens an easier way to get to that information.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).