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City Of Fort Worth Looking To Streamline Services Online

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Fort Worth City Hall has a cavernous atrium lit by skylights four stories above. It is ringed on all four floors by innocuous doorways and ceiling height windows covered by white blinds. And Monday, Fort Worth apartment manager Cory Rodgers is seeing more of city hall than he liked.

“I’ve been here about two and a half hours,” he told a courteous teller, who was shuffling through a stack of paperwork Rodgers had given her.

Rodgers spent nearly three hours trying to get his apartment buildings registered with the city.

“They’re actually making a copy of my receipts,” Rodgers said as he described what was still left to do after the time he’s already spent there. “Then I take that information back over there to the first lady who was helping me — she was actually very professional — and she prints out my cards. And then when I get back to the office I actually have to call the city of Fort Worth so they can come out and inspect my property.”

Mayor Betsy Price says she wants to streamline the the maze of bureaucracy — and she wants voter ideas to drive the change. The problem is, how do you get voter interaction?

“Interaction now historically has been neighborhood group meetings or town meetings which we don’t do very many of,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “You know, its just old school thinking. We have to move to the next level because people are busy.”

She’s asking council and staff to use social media to ask citizens how to improve services.

And the city is looking at online interaction like a website the City of Austin uses. People can post complaints, have ongoing input on issues the council is discussing and ideas for change.

The resulting changes in services after the input in Fort Worth will be, “Fundamental,” Mayor Price said.

Right now, though, the only interaction many people have with city hall is just like Rodgers’ experience.

“Thank God I only have to do this two times a year!” Rodgers laughed as he walked out of city hall with his completed paperwork and headed to his office to call yet another city department to complete his task.

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