Terrell Hills Launches FAQ App, Notify Residents

Residents of Terrell Hills have a new way to stay informed with an app the city launched this week.

My Terrell Hills is designed to more directly answer some of residents’ most common questions, from when to waste, recycling and brush collection to obtaining a permit or inspection, said city manager William Foley. The app also includes contact information for city councilors and employees, as well as links to public meeting agendas and an open application form.

But Foley said he’s most excited about the notification system in the app, which allows the city to communicate messages about severe weather, water restrictions, garbage collection, community events and more to its residents.

“That’s what we’re aiming for is to give you as much information in the palm of your hand as you can possibly have,” Foley said.

The city uses Blackboard, a system that can send voice messages, text messages and emails. But Foley said he thinks the system has become “obsolete” as people have moved to smartphone technology. He also thinks the app can clear up confusion; he said that when people receive a voice message from the city, officials often receive multiple calls with follow-up questions.

The city spends about $3,000 a year on a contract with a company called GoGov to make the app a reality. Foley said this is about how much the city has spent on Blackboard.

In a week or so, Foley said a message will be sent on Blackboard encouraging people to download My Terrell Hills as the city prepares to shut down the Blackboard system.

Terrell Hills officials started making an app about a year ago and considered a number of different companies. They met with Alamo Heights leadership early in the investigation phase and kept in touch throughout the process.

Alamo Heights City Manager Buddy Kuhn said both communities were looking at different options together, but Alamo Heights wanted to “see how their product is being received before moving on to something else.”

The Terrell Hills app launched Monday during the city’s annual parade and block party on July 4.

“Everyone was really, really excited about the app,” Foley said.

Data on how many people have downloaded the app so far will be available in the coming days, Foley said.

There are currently about 3,000 contacts in the city’s Blackboard system, but Foley said that doesn’t mean 3,000 residents are using it, as the system counts each phone number and email address as a separate contact, even if they belong to the same person. .

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