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SeeClickFix Grows Into Role Helping Towns Manage Storm Response

SeeClickFix Grows Into Role Helping Towns Manage Storm Response

CT News Junkie, May 17, 2018

by Jack Kramer

It isn’t just public works crews and utility workers who have had little sleep since Tuesday’s late-afternoon storm hit Connecticut — New Haven-based SeeClickFix has been swamped helping municipalities deal with power outages and downed trees.

SeeClickFix.com was originally built as a disruptive way for constituents to report nuisance, non-emergency problems to government officials, and to hold them accountable. The company has since grown out of its New Haven origins to cover thousands of towns and neighborhoods both in the United States and across the world. In the past year SeeClickFix software has become a critical tool to help hurricane-ravaged areas in Texas and Florida.

But on Tuesday and Wednesday, SeeClickFix’s 35 workers were doing their best much closer to their Chapel Street office.

“The volume of requests definitely increases during a storm,” SeeClickFix co-founder and CEO Ben Berkowitz said Wednesday. “The photos that come in are typically staggering.”

“We’ll see more (requests) over the coming days if the clean-up takes a while,” Berkowitz added.

SeeClickFix allows users to report non-emergency problems from downed trees to clogged sewers to graffiti, potholes, or even chronic speeding. They can use either the mobile app or a desktop web browser. Local officials monitor the site and receive notifications in order to respond to problems reported, and also directly to the person reporting.

While SeeClickFix initially aligned itself as a free tool for news organizations and residents, today it pays most of its bills by working with municipalities directly — contracting with them as a request and work management software system to find and solve neighborhood problems.

Municipalities have willingly signed on with SeeClickFix after finding the company does a better job than cities themselves handling citizen complaints.

Among its nine Connecticut clients is the town of Hamden, which signed up with SeeClickFix a few months ago.

Hamden was one of the town’s hit hardest by Tuesday’s storm.

The National Weather Service sent a team to assess damage in Connecticut, with a focus on Hamden, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Durham, Bethany, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Ridgefield, Southbury, and Winsted.

Hamden's experience back to top

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng kept residents updated on road closings and power outages on social media.

On the town’s website page, a statement late Wednesday said: “The Storm Management Team met this afternoon to begin to plan steps for recovery. It has been determined that Northern Hamden has received heavier damage than originally suspected. Over 150 trees have been ripped down in Northern Hamden.”

“The Mayor has been in contact with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in getting assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),” the town’s website said.

The storm killed two people. One man in Danbury died when a tree fell on his vehicle. A 41-year-old woman also was killed in New Fairfield during the storms, according to state police. They said a 3-year-old child who was with her did not appear to be hurt.

The storms that moved through Connecticut pelted cars and homes with hail, took down trees, and showed signatures of a possible tornado in some towns. At least one confirmed tornado occurred in the Oxford area.

Power remained out for more than 86,000 Eversource and United Illuminating customers late Wednesday.

SeeClickFix tool centers around a web-based map that displays all user comments. Users may add comments, suggest resolutions, or add video or picture documentation.

“SeeClickFix is only as successful as its city partners,” Berkowitz said. “As such they bear the brunt of the extra work.”

“That said, the SeeClickFix technology does a ton to reduce the added communications burden and confusion for citizens and city officials,” Berkowitz added.

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08/24/15 Malloy trying to keep GE headquarters in CT, Hartford Courant
08/24/15 Governor elevates deputy to chief of staff, Hartford Courant
08/24/15 Fairfield First Selectman: there is no replacing GE, The Hartfordite Blog
08/21/15 Mark Ojakian, Gov.'s Chief of Staff, named interim president of CSCU system, Hartford Courant
08/21/15 Joe Scarborough is firm on taxes, less so on his plans, CT Mirror
08/20/15 The rise of the sharing economy, The Economist
08/19/15 CT unemployment rate inches closer to national average, CT News Junkie
08/14/15 Legislators seeking to change municipal pension rule told to write a letter, CT Mirror
08/12/15 School to prison pipeline sparks frank debate at State Capitol, CT News Junkie
08/11/15 Tax-free week starts Sunday, CT Post
08/10/15 Plainville streetlights to provide Wi-Fi, not just lights -- Hartford Courant
08/04/15 Meriden residents, joining 126 other towns,  now eligible for CCM's Prescription Discount Card Program, Meriden Record-Journal
07/29/15 Legislators resist giving Gov his transportation funding lock box, CT Mirror
07/28/15 CT News Junkie turns ten years old; at the crossroads, CT News Junkie
07/27/15 State considering layoffs as federal funding dries up, Hartford Courant
07/21/15 State commits resources to reduce violence in Hartford, CT News Junkie
07/20/15 CT unemployment rate hits lowest mark since July 2008, CT Mirror
07/15/15 No veto overrides planned by State Legislature, Hartford Courant
07/15/15 Drop in arrests, jail admissions, in first half of 2015, Hartford Courant
07/14/15 Ojakian to leave as Malloy Chief of Staff, CT Mirror
07/13/15 Malloy signs 268 bills, vetoes 9, CT News Junkie
07/09/15 Speaker's property tax legislation rides through in the budget implementer, CT News Junkie
07/08/15 Some bright spots in the state's sluggish economy, CT Mirror
07/08/15 New laws start this month, CT News Junkie
07/07/15 Malloy maintains optimism over state budget, CT News Junkie
06/30/15 How much does your town gain or lose in the state budget, CT Mirror
06/30/15 Governor explained why he raised taxes, CT News Junkie
06/26/15 It is time to stampede the elephants in the room, Manchester Journal Inquirer
06/26/15 Car tax cap is good, but state must keep revenue promise to towns, Norwich Bulletin
06/17/15 Over 80 municipal officials to assemble for June 18 CCM Annual Meeting; New CCM Executive Director to present first major address on the "New CCM" and legislative concerns with coming Special Session
06/16/15 CT's budget's devilish details tarnish final result, CT Mirror
06/12/15 Governor seeks to roll back $220 million in business taxes; CCM, local leaders want seat at table, CT Mirror
06/12/15 Connecticut's local leaders call for more inclusion and transparency in the state budgeting process
06/10/15 Malloy open to conversation about business taxes as GE puts one foot out the door, CT News Junkie
06/09/15 CT business taxes actually among lowest in the nation, Op-Ed in Hartford Courant
06/08/15 State budget gambling on middle clas, CT Post
06/04/15 CCM statement on 2015 General Assembly session and cities & towns
06/04/15 Senate Dems threaten nuclear option -- cutting off debate -- to pass budget and $2 billion tax hike, CT Mirror
06/04/15 Legislature heads into overtime, CT News Junkie
06/04/15 House, Senate approve $40 billion budget, Gov ready to sign it, Hartford Courant
06/03/15 Bills stack up as legislative session adjournment nears, Hartford Courant
06/03/15 House agrees on budget that includes unitary business tax, Hartford Business Journal
06/02/15 Workers' Comp Agency Names New CEO, Hartford Courant
06/02/15 Top CT city Insurer names new CEO, Hartford Business Journal
06/01/15 Initial CCM statement in response to state budget agreement
05/26/15 Coalition unites to oppose new mega mandate for workers' comp; news conference set for Wed., May 27 at 11 a.m. at State Capitol
05/19/15 Would state sales tax hike really translate into local tax relief, CT Mirror
05/19/15 Enact a state budget that protects property taxpayers, Op-Ed by Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director
05/18/15 Click here to listen to CCM radio spot opposing cancer presumption mandate: "If we don't learn from the past, we are destined to repeat our mistakes..."
05/18/15 Click here to listen to CCM radio spot opposing cancer presumption mandate "Proponents are pushing two huge mandates that would unnecessarily cost towns millions..."
05/18/15 With major cancer presumption bill reaching critical stage, CCM begins airing radio messages calling on legislators to turn aside this costly unfunded state mandate
05/15/15 House approves bill requiring Ed. Commissioner to have classroom, administrative experience, Hartford Courant
05/14/15 Top lawmakers say more communication needed on bill to protect firefighters, CT News Junkie
05/13/15 Firefighter cancer bill moving ahead, Norwich Bulletin
05/12/15 Competing sides ramp up tax debate, CT Mirror
05/11/15 House approves change in minimum budget requirement, CT News Junkie
05/08/15 Officials fight expanded workers' compensartion for public safety employees, WTNH-TV Channel 8
05/08/15 CCM, Mayor Lauretti warn about another mandate, CT Post
05/08/15 Towns voice concerns over potential change in workers' compensation law for firefghters, CT News Junkie
05/07/15 CCM Emergency Management Symposium Broadcast, (CTN) Connecticut Public Affairs Network
05/05/15 Revenues fall short, leaving 2015 state budget in deficit, CT News Junkie