A smart city is designed to make our lives better. This is done by combining information, comunication and technology affecting how we work, how we learn, how we live, and how we grow.
Customer feedback from contractors, business owners and residents helped city officials realize a change was needed in order to make doing business with the city an easier and more efficient process. Too much time was spent going back and forth to multiple locations in order to obtain a license, permit, or pay a bill. To save our customers precious time and money, we will open a ONE STOP SHOP at a recently acquired 23,000 square foot building on Stubbs Avenue in midtown Monroe. We are relocating our Engineering Department into this one centralized facility along with the following divisions of the Planning and Urban Development Department: Utilities, Tax & Revenue, Planning & Zoning, Code Enforcement, Inspections, and Community Development. Quick payment kiosks, improved workflow, and quicker access to various officials will make doing business with the City of Monroe much smoother.
The Monroe Police Department is now using digiTICKET electronic ticketing. The innovative software reduces the amount of paper used and improves accuracy in documentation of traffic infractions. On site, motorists receive a digitally printed ticket with easy to read information. A digital copy is automatically sent into police records. We can almost eliminate data entry errors and easily transfer ticket data directly to our City Court and records management systems. Using digi-Tickets also saves officers valuable time in the field - allowing more opportunities for them to conduct other public safety functions.
This highly durable portable device is the standard in emergency care for advance care teams like the EMS Certified members of the Monroe Fire Department. In addition to serving as heart defibrillators, these cardiac monitors offer 12-Lead EKG capabilities, automatic blood pressure monitoring, pulse oximetry, and CO2 monitoring. Thanks to a community development block grant through our Planning & Urban Development Department, the life-saving devices are now on four of the busiest fire trucks in the City of Monroe.
The new Monroe Transit SPOT app gives our riders the ability to get real-time bus status information via the internet, smart phone, and SMS notification. There is no more guessing. You can now track your bus, receive arrival time predictions, and even schedule upcoming trips.
With a growing number of participating artists coming from across the nation, the Masur Museum of Art utilized a local web designer to create a secondary website for the museum. This website now allows us to accept Digital Art Entries for the Masur Museum of Art's annual Juried Competition. Artists can now enter all their information as well as a photo of their work of art onto our website and can pay their entry fee online. This option reduces the carbon footprint created by those who had to drive to the post office to submit their entry. Up to 1,000 entries at our highest have come through the website. This is eco-friendly and reduces the manhours needed by museum staff to prepare the works of art for the jurors to be able to see them all.
In 2020, our Parks & Recreation division will begin development and implementation of a piloted Comprehensive Community Center. Making smart use of space in the Benoit Community Center complex, we will work with various public, private and non-profit partners to offer multiple services to the public. In addition to recreational services, we will explore offering residents the chance to make utility bill payments, receive free medical screenings and health education, earn HISET (GED) certification, learn more about community resources, receive afterschool tutoring, and, learn financial literacy and other important skills. AmeriCorp Vista workers will help assess public needs and participate in the development of the pilot program.
Multiple City of Monroe departments have apps linked to our Engineering Department's Geographic Information System or GIS map database. This technology puts an effective solution for getting data into the hands of our personnel in the field or in the office. Field workers can use an app on a smartphone, tablet or laptop to collect high quality information about water, sewer, drainage and streets in near real time. This high quality and easily accessible data help the city make better decisions about current and future projects with no extra expense.
The various divisions within our Planning & Urban Development Department are using technology to streamline services. Our Inspections division is proud to announce E-Permits are available for all contractors to request and pay for permits online. The Planning & Zoning division utilizes Geographic Information System (GIS) maps of the city, with various layers - such as zoning, addresses, and parcel lines. These maps are also available to the public through our city website. Our Community Development division began using Neighborly Solutions in late 2019. This cloud-based software solution eliminates
paper-based applications, manual processes, and outdated technology. Helping this division improve administrative efficiency and compliance with federal regulations. In 2020, our Code Enforcement division will be using Building Blocks, a tech-savvy approach to help reduce and eliminate blight. The citizen-friendly software allows residents to track the process and receive updates about reported code violations.
We used a grant obtained from the Louisiana Public Service Commission to remove more than thirty-five hundred fluorescent light bulbs, in city facilities, and replace them with longer-lasting energy-efficient LED lights - saving the City of Monroe over $31,000 per year in energy costs.
Our Legal department has embraced the Smart City concept of moving toward going paperless, through our City Prosecutor's office use of the JustWare Management System. This move began with the purchase of Surface Pro Tablets which are taken to court instead of paper files. The tablet can be used to launch simple searches across all case files and find any document in seconds. Prosecutors are also able to review and approve electronic files, as well as store photos, audio and video files to assist in faster file preparation.
Our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA System gives us the capabilities to monitor and control the functions of dozens of our Sewer & Storm Water Pump Stations. With this technology, we can check each station remotely ... 24/7 from office computers and smart devices. Saving time and reducing the chance of human error while ensuring residents that “our pumps" are working properly; and, can be fixed promptly if there are issues.
Have you ever thought about how much water you “actually" use to water your lawn, fill your pool, or when washing your vehicles? Our SMART WATER METERS allow us to get a more accurate read on water consumption. Our next step is to implement the “tree" EYE ON WATER app, which customers can use to monitor their own water usage. The early leak detection component can help people avoid high bills. With a computer or smart device, residents can monitor how much water they use ... down to the hour! Increasing consumer confidence and enhancing city services.