Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

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Henderson’s online complaint service growing, getting high marks from users

The click of a mouse is bringing about faster responses to complaints and questions brought to the attention of city hall, users of Henderson’s 24/7 online portal and city officials say.

Since the inception four years ago of the Contact Henderson portal, the city has resolved about 98 percent of the more than 95,000 cases it has received, according to Addah Moritz-Smith, Contact Henderson administrator. The program allows residents to create an account or log onto the city’s website anonymously to report anything from graffiti to broken light poles and get answers to questions about utilities, court fines and more.

Contact Henderson users’ requests, comments, suggestions or complaints are forwarded directly to the city department of their choosing. The average response time to a request lodged by registered users is a day and a half, Moritz-Smith said.

Jan Markus, a 15-year Henderson resident and manager of multiple homeowners associations in Henderson and Las Vegas, said the website had helped her report violations to code enforcement that were taken care of in a timely manner. She said she uses the service almost every other week.

“With rising foreclosures and vacated homes we have stagnant pools, and neighbors will call,” Markus said. “Parking enforcement is another that is constant. There are times when people will park trailers or RVs longer than 72 hours.”

Markus also has used the online tool to report much-needed replacement of signs on her street. She said that and other complaints all were resolved in a week or less.

“Before, you would contact police and sometimes you’re put on hold, talking to a desk officer,” Markus said. “The difference is when you email, (your case) is automatically assigned a number.”

Moritz-Smith said street repairs and graffiti were the top issues reported by Contact Henderson users.

Contact Henderson also features a section for frequently asked questions with more than 700 subject topics and 12,000 questions.

In 2011 the website received 113,000 hits on the FAQ section, which means fewer people calling the city with questions, Moritz-Smith said.

Still, there are only 40,876 registered users, a small portion of the 277,500 people who call Henderson home. But residents aren’t the only ones who find the online tool helpful, said city spokesman Bud Cranor.

“It gives us a great way to track how quickly we are responding to residents and the trouble spots popping up,” said Cranor. “It helps measure more efficiently what we do.”

In the first two years of the program, the average response time in closing cases was two weeks. Last year, with 40,000 cases, the average response time was nine days, Moritz-Smith said.

“It helps quite a bit,” said Markus, who will most likely use the service again soon. “I always encourage (homeowners) to use it, and a lot of them do.”

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  1. "The program allows residents to create an account or log onto the city's website anonymously to report anything from graffiti to broken light poles and get answers to questions about utilities, court fines and more."

    So Henderson has become a city of online snitches. Clever way to try doing an end run around one's Constitutional promise of confronting one's accuser.

    "...our sense of fair play which dictates a fair state-individual balance by requiring the government to leave the individual alone until good cause is shown for disturbing him and by requiring the government in its contest with the individual to shoulder the entire load..." -- Murphy v. Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, 378 U.S. 52, 55 (1964)