In a press release issued Wednesday, Mayor Joseph J. Solomon announced he is exploring a series of initiatives that will “help to further improve the efficiency and transparency of government operations.”
“As public servants, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that city funds are being spent wisely,” Solomon said. “It’s equally important that government works effectively for our taxpayers and makes it as convenient as possible for them to do business with municipal departments and to have their concerns addressed in a timely fashion.”
The mayor proposes to implement a multi-faceted system, with an informational mobile phone app, updated webpage and dedicated phone line, similar to those in use in other communities, which would provide around-the-clock access to city departments for residents wanting to report an issue. Issues would be broken down into a variety of categories, including, but not limited to, pothole concerns, property maintenance issues, signage and street lights, garbage pickup, animal/rodent control, permitting processes, graffiti and building issues, and concerns relative to the business community.
“By providing these additional resources, residents can be assured that their concerns are reaching the appropriate departments quickly and that our employees will be better able to address and respond to them in a more timely fashion,” Solomon said.
Solomon is also exploring ways that the review and approval process can be expedited for building projects, and residential and commercial development. “We know that time is money, and streamlining our internal processes will further economic development in the City and assure developers and property owners that their projects will not delayed by municipal departments’ review,” he said.
The city’s Geographical Information System (GIS), available online, has proven to be a very useful tool for residents, the business community, realtors and others looking for information about the city. Solomon said that, in response to residents’ inquiries to his office, data relative to the location of existing sewer lines and infrastructure, as well as future planned sewer infrastructure projects, has been added to GIS. Additional information, such as whether a property is serviced by Warwick Water or the Kent County Water Department, will also be added to the city’s GIS.
These initiatives, the release reads, will add to the “good government” foundation that Solomon has built throughout his long tenure on the Warwick City Council. In this capacity, he helped to implement live-streaming of City Council meetings, added a public comment period during regular Council meetings, required that any purchase over $2,500 be approved by the City Council, and required competitive bidding for the city’s health care services, the latter of which has saved some $20 million to date.
“Making government transparent and accessible to our citizens gives them the opportunity to express their views to those they elected to represent them and lets them see exactly how their taxes are being spent,” Solomon said. “Improving the efficiency of our services is good for our community and allows residents and the business community alike the opportunity to express their concerns and share their thoughts about how we can better serve them.”