Reposted from the Hampton Union
HAMPTON FALLS — It may be the second smallest town on the Seacoast, but Hampton Falls could be the first community to keep its citizens information through the use of a mobile app for their cell phones.
Having a Hampton Falls mobile app has been under consideration for more than three months. Selectmen engaged in two workshops on the project after the proposal was brought up at a previous selectmen’s meeting, Selectman James Ziolkowski told attendees at Wednesday night’s selectmen’s meeting.
Local resident George Koch, III, a software professional, volunteered his time to research the project for the town. On Wednesday, Koch and Selectman Larry Smith explained a Hampton Falls mobile app would not replace any of the current informational options residents have – like the town’s website – but would offer one more way to reach out to citizens.
Koch explained that in today’s technological society, there’s no one communications path that can be employed to ensure all residents get needed information. Since most people have cell phones, a town mobile app would be another layer to let townspeople learn about many aspects of the town, Koch said, such as its historical monuments and landmarks, voter information and emergency notifications, to name just a few.
″(Mobile apps) are one way municipalities throughout American are connecting with their citizens,” Koch said.
Koch researched providers for selectmen and recommended contracting with City Sourced, which, he said, offers a “bare bones” mobile app that would provide Hampton Falls with what it currently needs, but which could be expanded in the future.
The one time cost to set up the platform would be only $3,500, with an annual subscription fee of about $7,000. If approved, the service would be paid from Comcast franchise service fees paid to Hampton Falls, so the general fund would not be stressed, Smith said. Using Comcast fees for town technology purchases was approved by voters in the March election, he added.
Koch also asked selectmen to set up a technology committee to review the town’s entire technology infrastructure.
Selectmen decided to send a proposed City Sourced contract to town counsel for review, as well as seek interested and experienced residents to staff the technology committee before moving forward on the final decision to establish a Hampton Falls mobile app.
In other business, Police Chief Robbie Dirsa told the board that one of the town’s cruisers was involved in a minor fender-bender while on patrol on Route 1. Dirsa said there were no injuries or major damage, estimating the cost of repairs at about $1,000.
Dirsa said the accident took place when the officer was reaching for a piece of equipment while driving. While distracted, the cruiser bumped into the back of a car.
To maintain full disclosure, the Hampton Falls Observer was also created and maintained by George Koch III.