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MESA, Ariz. -- Even on the hottest topics cities have a hard time drumming up attendance for council meetings and other functions.

Someday there may be a way for residents give valuable input at those meetings without physically being there.

Mesa has teamed up with Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus and Code for America on technology designed to engage the community with apps that will be based on public input.

Peter Welte is one of three Code of America Fellows who will spend February interviewing Mesa residents about their biggest concerns before designing web apps that connect the public with city government.

"You might be driving or walking down the street and see a sign asking 'What do you think about (this issue)? Text your response to this number.' And that would begin a text dialogue," Welte said.

Mesa is among eight cities taking part in this year's program. The apps should be unveiled within the next year.

"This really fits in with what we're doing in Mesa. There's one thing that can be said about Mesa is that we've embraced technology," Mayor Scott Smith said.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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