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New Website Helps City of Grand Forks, N.D. Manage Falling Leaves

Color-coded Map Cuts Down on Calls to City Hall

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (October 22, 2014) An eye-catching website homepage graphic serves as the new town crier in Grand Forks, ND this fall, touting the message “Leaf Collection Has Begun!” Local government officials in Grand Forks and other communities that experience the splendor of fall foliage are well versed on vacuum pick-up, leaf bags and the community’s need for information.

“Leaf pick-up is a service that, in the grand scheme of what city government provides, seems minor, but from a public standpoint it’s a big deal,” said Grand Forks Communications Specialist John Bernstrom.

Recognizing the importance of communication, Grand Forks leveraged the versatility of its new website, www.grandforksgov.com, designed by government website experts at Vision Internet and launched in July, by adding a fall leaf collection page. The page features a color-coded map that shows where City crews are and where they’re going next. The dedicated section has risen to the top of the site’s “most popular” list. 

“Grand Forks is a four-season community, and right now we’re in the middle of fall,” Bernstrom explained. “A service our City provides is to come by with a big vacuum truck to pick up the leaves. The benefits are twofold: vacuum collection keeps leaves out of our storm sewers and we use the collected leaves for cover on our landfill. It’s one of those services that our community likes but residents want to know when their leaves are going to be picked up.”

To keep residents informed, Grand Forks created a leaf collection webpage that includes GIS mapping, and then built a map that tracks the progress of leaf pick-up crews and plots where they’re going next. The results are paying off with a notable reduction in phone calls and emails to the City asking questions related to leaf collection.

“Vision Internet’s content management system has given us infinite space to expand and enhance our site,” said Bernstrom. “It’s exciting to have an idea and then have the tools in hand to create a cool new way to communicate with the public.”

After the City’s last pass for leaf vacuum pick-up, expected in early November unless it snows, the City’s website team plans to issue a report to show City Council and department heads how much money the website leaf collection portal saved Grand Forks in terms of phone call and email response costs.  

“When people can serve themselves, it doesn’t cost us anything,” said Bernstrom.

Ashley Fruechting of Vision Internet agrees. “The powerful web management tools provided by visionCMS™ have made citizen self-service a reality for hundreds of government agencies across North America. The team in Grand Forks is among the most creative and engaged we’ve had the pleasure of working with and we look forward to collaborating with them on future ideas that will help spur the development of new features and services.”

For more information about Vision Internet’s transformative government website technology, call 888-263-8847 or visit visioninternet.com/inforequest.

About Vision Internet
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., Vision Internet is a national leader in government website development with more than 600 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. Over the past 18 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites. In 2013, Vision Internet launched visionCMS™, a powerful, easy to use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. For more information visit www.visioninternet.com.
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