Sandy uses Internet resources to keep residents informed

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 2:33 p.m. MST

Sandy officials say the Sandy Now website is different that most city websites because it has an online information dashboard. It brings together websites, Twitter, Facebook pages along with constant updates to let residents know what's going on.

Marc Weaver, Deseret News

SANDY — As Sandy's population continues to get bigger, communications between residents and city government sometimes gets smaller.

"The biggest failure is communications," said Nicole Martin, Sandy spokeswoman. "If you're not communicating, then your residents have no idea what you're doing."

Although communications with residents is something cities everywhere have a difficult time with, Sandy is trying something new.

"What's different about Sandy Now is what we call our online information dashboard," Martin said.

Most cities have websites, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as old-fashioned newsletters to communicate with residents.

But Sandy is bringing all that together with constant updates to let residents know what's going on. City officials also are following the 2014 Legislature to post information that could impact residents.

"With today's technology, it's not enough for cities to kind of passively communicate and hope their residents are informed," Martin said.

Mayor Tom Dolan has seen plenty of City Council meetings where there were more councilmen than residents. And yet tough decisions still have to be made.

"It's so difficult to get information out and receive information back from your (residents). You really work hard at it," the mayor said.

Dolan remembers scrolling through city information on a cable-access TV channel years ago and called the experience “the most boring thing in the world.”

"It's getting much better because people are more technologically advanced, and this is the way they communicate," Dolan said.

Because not everyone has the Internet, newsletters and announcements will still be mailed to residents, the mayor said.

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com

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