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Citizens Invited to SpeakUp Online

Post Date:09/12/2014
The City of Williamsburg has launched a new online portal to enhance community engagement. Speak Up Williamsburg is a moderated website designed to encourage citizen ideas and social engagement, gain feedback on City initiatives, and prioritize community interests.

“Speak Up Williamsburg is a place where you can share your ideas and show your support for the ideas posted by others,” said City Manager Jack Tuttle. “We’re launching the portal to coincide with the Council’s Biennial Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes setting process, because it’s a perfect time to ask citizens to share their ideas with council, staff and each other.” As users post ideas, they will receive a confirmation email and from that point be able to track the progress of their idea every time they log on. “The beauty of Speak Up Williamsburg is that it doesn’t replace one-on-one interaction with City staff and elected officials, it simply provides an additional online venue for conversation and consensus building,” said Tuttle.

Speak Up Williamsburg is one component of new services designed and implemented to encourage and support citizen engagement, all integrated with the City’s streaming media and agenda creation.

Although anyone can view the discussions, to participate there is a simple sign-up process where citizens create a public username, and provide first and last name, and address. Users can also sign up through their facebook accounts.

In addition to posting and liking ideas, users will notice a Discussion section and a Forum section on the website where the city will pose a topic or idea and ask for community feedback.

The new service is powered through a platform called SpeakUp, created by Granicus, Inc. a San Francisco-based company. The platform is specifically designed to help government agencies gather meaningful and measurable feedback from the public. Currently, Granicus provides transparency and community collaboration solutions to more than 1,000 local, state, and federal government agencies across the U.S. and Canada. Williamsburg signed on with Granicus in 2011 to give residents on demand video access to public meetings and a wide array of other cable access programming choices.

Also launching is eComment, which will enable citizens to comment on specific agenda items from the Internet. Comments flow into iLegislate and are displayed on the website for Council and the general public to see.

Williamsburg citizens and business owners are encouraged to sign up for Speak Up Williamsburg at speakupwilliamsburg.com. To see and comment on agenda items for meetings, go to williamsburgva.gov/emeetings. For information about the goals process, visit williamsburgva.gov/goals.
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