Middlesboro launches new communication platform

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

NEWS REPORT

The City of Middlesboro has launched “Text My Gov,” a citizen-to-city communication platform that helps guide residents to resources and report potential issues, at the end of May.

Using TextMyGov, citizens can get immediate answers to questions, report issues, and more- all via text messaging.

TextMyGov uses the cell phone users regular text messaging service to relay information to the city by using keywords, such as street, sewer, water, library, events, permits, utility, employment, etc..

“The launch date is yet to be determined but will be up and running by the end of May,” said Mayor Boone Bowling.

According to Bowling, the texting service is subscription based, allowing users from anywhere, inside of or outside of the city, to get updates on certain areas and area happenings in Middlesboro.

“I am currently going through the trainings to understand how it works and make sure we have it set up and tailored to best serve the community.”

At the March Middlesboro city council meeting, Bowling expressed the need for a better communication tool for handling weather events

“It’s a really good communication bridge for the public as well as us, especially during emergency services where we can send out a mass text throughout the city to warn like with what we saw last month with some of the wind as well as some of our flooding,” Bowling said. “It’s extra backup protection, and it’s a great way we can communicate.”

The purpose of TextMyGov is to provide residents with timely updates on city activities that may affect their daily lives. Users will have the option to sign up for both neighborhood-level and citywide text message alerts. While local text messages keep users informed about service level effects that only affect your own neighborhood, citywide texts will alert users to issues that affect a significant percentage of the city.

Some notifications may include the following:

• solid waste service disruptions

• construction notifications

• city event information

• public engagement opportunities

“This program gives us an opportunity to communicate what’s going on whether its weather or its an outage, and my understanding is we can also do it in certain areas of town as well. Whether we have a flood and a bad area on south side or whether it’s in [oldtown] we can send them to different areas,” said Bowling. “If there’s any outages, we can also communicate that for water as well, or anything, it’s a swiss army knife and a tool for whatever we need.”

Affected users can submit reports that there is an electricity outage, sending the reports directly to the city and the appropriate workers. The texting service can also let users who live in that area know exactly what to expect when they get home from work.