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Mesa City Hall turns to tech to better connect with community

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.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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