TOWN OF GREENBURGH- SUMMARY OF SOME RECENT TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES
An article in the Harvard Business Review (Jan 12, 2016) said it best: "In our connected, customer centric world, customers have come to expect that their needs will be met quickly and frictionlessly-especially in cities, where instacart delivers groceries to your apartment, Amazon provides same day delivery and Uber and Lyft compete to have a car to your door in minutes. Local governments, however, have too often offered a different experience: forms that have to be printed and mailed, payments taken only in cash or check, appointments that have to conducted in person and in offices only open form 9 AM to 5 PM." This experience increasingly clashes with what residents have expected from a private sector that embraces technology.
Some innovative local governments around the nation realize the value of using technology to better serve constituents. Our town has been taking advantage of technology and we will do more. We plan to take advantage of the talents of a soon to be formed citizens Technology Committee made u p of knowledgable and dedicated citizens who can help us identify and evaluate cutting edge tools that will help Greenburgh be managed more efficiently and provide better service.
I’m taking this opportunity to summarize some recent initiatives to ensure that our citizens receive more value for their tax dollars.
GREENBURGH POLICE IS CONSTANTLY USING MORE TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP YOU SAFE
• Stationary and mobile license plate readers that take pictures of all license plates that pass and send alerts about warrants, stolen cars, Amber alerts, etc. They are also a significant tool for follow-up investigations by our Detectives.
• We use Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at crosswalks throughout the town. They are activated by the pedestrian to alert motorists that a pedestrian is in the crosswalk and intends to cross. They are a significant safety improvement in the town and we have been recognized by AAA for improving safety with this addition
• We have (4) portable and (2) fixed digital speed signs and one variable message board that have enhanced public safety throughout the town
• We have 2 radar speed trailers
• We have numerous handheld laser speed units to enforce speeding.
• We have a covert radar recorder which records vehicular volume and speed to assist with traffic surveys
• We have (6) portable truck scales for overweight vehicle enforcement.
• Total Station Computer crime scene equipment and software that digitally reconstructs crime scenes
• Crimescope to detect forensic evidence at crime scenes
• Alternate Light Source to detect forensic evidence at crime scenes
• Digital undercover microphones for undercover operations
• CLEAR search engine by Thomson Reuters to enhance criminal investigations
• Portable cameras that are deployed for investigations
• Digital Cameras used by patrol and detectives
• Digital fingerprinting scanner and computer. Ink is no longer used to take fingerprints
• Mobile data terminals and printers installed in all police vehicles enables all police reports do be done on a computer in the field. This eliminates written incident reports, accident reports and traffic tickets.
• Car video cameras- We have had for many years and have been extremely helpful in all aspects of policing. Recently added speed trigger to automatically activate cameras
• Police Body Worn Cameras- 1 of only 2 agencies in Westchester County that has full patrol deployment of individual body camera. Extremely successful program that has fostered transparency and continues to build trust and cooperation between police and community.
• Tasers- less than lethal option that has proved invaluable
• Cell phones are equipped with department email to increase department efficiency and communication
• Social media used as a law enforcement tool
• Smart Boards in training room to improve efficiency of police training
• Digital radio- switch from uhf lines have proven to be more efficient
• Mobile Command Center equipped with all radio and communication technology
• Our communications section has a computer program for Emergency Medical Dispatch
• Silent passenger in police cars measures speed, location and traffic patterns.
• Numerous pieces of electronics- Pole cameras, heat sensitivity
• Transmission of patient EKG’s to hospitals is now done electronically via electronic modems on our cardiac machines
• Lucas compression device- automatically gives lifesaving chest compressions more efficiently and effectively than a human could possibly do
• We now have video laryngoscopes that can assist with lifesaving intubating of patients.
• Powerload stretchers to automatically raise patients up and down on stretchers to improve patient care and prevent back injuries from our personnel
• We have an intra-osseous drill to enable vascular access to traumatic patients in cardiac arrest. This is an instant source to replenish fluids and administer medications
• Electronic Pre-hospital Care Reports done on a tablet to improve efficiency and communication with hospital staff while complying with HIPPA
OUR NEW SANITATION TRUCKS HAVE ENABLED TOWN TO REDUCE STAFF FROM 48 TO 40 EMPLOYEES—AND FEWER WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS
As everyone is aware we are changing the way we handle garbage. Three years back the town invested in its first side loader truck. Each truck can pick up garbage from 800 stops and this is all done without leaving the vehicle.
Employees picking up garbage get hurt. An electronic hand that picks up garbage may need repairs at some point but won't get disability payments.
The result is in the reduction in the number of staff members
2010 48 members
2017 40 members
USE OF REMOTE METER READING PROGRAM HAS HELPED REDUCE COSTS AND HELPED RESIDENTS SAVE MONEY BY IDENTIFYING LEAKS EARLY
Data, Customer Service, and Efficiency are Integrated by the Neptune R450™ System
• The Water Department was spending an exorbitant amount of time on meter readings and re-reads, due to operating system failures, errors, lack of system support and unavailable spare parts for repairs on the existing system. We needed three to four meter readers per month to gather all the information.
• Leaks across the system were a challenge to identify and difficult to monitor.
• The Town was receiving repeated inquiries from homeowners on high water bills.
With the implementation of the Neptune’s R450™ System
• The water Department saw immediate improvements in customer service, along with enhanced usage
data and reports. We are now able to pull up daily and hourly usage for customers.
• The R450 System’s ‘Leak Events” detailed consumption data has proven to help residents conserve water and save money by identifying leaks big and small. Having this information helps with the Town’s conservation measures and reduces water usage. For example, it was discovered that someone was using much more water than the family usually consumes. The customer, who was on vacation, was immediately contacted and gave permission to shut off permission saving thousands of dollars.
• The increased reading accuracy eliminates re-reads and therefore costs. With the added efficiency the Town now has the increased ability to perform non-reading tasks such as water main and service line maintenance.
We now have the ability to conduct hourly, daily and monthly reads. We have helped residents identify leaks early and will soon inaugurate a new technology that will enable residents to monitor their own usages. And, our personnel don't have to spend as much time meter reading and can be used more efficiently: performing maintenance and other tasks.
TRANSMAP HELPS US IDENTIFY ROADS THAT NEED TO BE REPAVED
“Transmap Corporation is an infrastructure management company that specializes in the data collection, processing, analysis and inventory of roadway assets. In 2010, Transmap Corporation began work for the Town of Greenburgh conducting field pavement inspections, which included identifying, measuring and inspecting all Town roadways and assigning each roadway with a unique identification. Using this already established project network, Transmap Corporation returned in 2012 and again in 2017 to re-inspect and rate each Town Roadway based on a “Pavement Condition Index.” The goal is to have Transmap Corporation update the pavement condition index (PCI) for each roadway and to compare with previously recorded PCI ratings from the 2010 and 2012 inspections to study the degradation rate for each roadway.”
THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY BEING USED TO REDUCE EXCESSIVE AND UNNEEDED SALT WHEN IT SNOWS
Three years back the town purchased two brine tanks to be mounted on trucks that are sent
out to apply this mix to the dry roads prior to a storm. Then when the event starts (be it ice or snow) we have a product on the road that gives us first a barrier so the snow
doesn’t bind to the road and also gives us a small window to start the process of maintaining the streets during a winter event.
We have fitted our new plow trucks with a feature called Force. Force controls the amount of salt being applied to the road as determined by a few variables during any given event. This saves time but also money as we are not putting down excessive and unneeded salt.
OUR CONTRACT WITH WEATHERWORKS HELPS US PREPARE FOR STORMS MORE EFFICIENTLY
We have contracted with a service called weather works –getting more accurate weather forecasts. This is a daily service that provides the most accurate weather forecasts, emergency weather texts (within 1 hour of the event), and 24/7 access to a live Meteorologist for updates. This has helped us plan and schedule for storm events. We don't have to call in our highway crews until they are really needed.
WE HAVE INSTALLED GPS IN OUR PUBLIC WORKS TRUCKS TO TRACK THEIR MOVEMENTS
LED LIGHTING REDUCES NUMBER OF STREET LIGHT COMPLAINTS AND SAVES US HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR
The town has replaced all the streetlights with new energy efficient LED fixtures.The units are said to last ten plus years.
In 2015 the communications dept. went out on 873 complaints related to street lights.
In 2017 to date they have been out on 135 complaints and not one of them was the light fixture. They were all Con Ed related issues. We expect this number to drop again next year.
Previously, the town budgeted approximately $650K for energy costs. Now it is half that.
The Upgrade in lighting Tech. has saved both time in labor hours and money.
ENGINEERING DEPT USES UP TO DATE DESIGN PROGRAMS
AutoCAD: In the past, fulltime draftsmen were employed to draw construction plans under engineering guidance. Now with AutoCAD, a trademarked computer-aided design program, engineers can draft all construction documents themselves.
Geographic planimetrics reduces need to hire surveying services: In order to create construction plans and documents, drawings of existing conditions must be established. In the past, this usually involved the use of a surveying department to survey a particular area and draft the results. The engineering department now uses planimetrics in AutoCAD format that contain existing conditions. This includes roadway, building, utility structures, and other misc. structures. It also contains high-definition photogrammetry and existing topography.
Surveying equipment: Surveys are an integral part of Engineering design that provide important coordinate measurements, distance measurements and angle measurements for locating particular points within a given area. Land surveys are used by Civil Engineers to locate obstructions, utilities, and other miscellaneous data points that pertain to a project area. For small measurements, surveying equipment includes the simplest of tools such as a measuring tape and level. However, for larger measurements advanced surveying equipment is necessary. The Town utilizes a total station, which is an electronic precision instrument, that has the ability to measure points and angles at a distance up to 7,000 feet. In addition, the total station operated by the Town is robotic which allows the operator to control the instrument from a distance via a remote controller. We have saved significant dollars by doing work in house. Work is done more rapidly.
GIS: The engineering department uses an online mapping service that designates various information for all properties in the Town. This includes approximate ROW lines, environmental conditions (including FEMA flood map designations), zoning maps, tax maps, and physical contours
ALL TOWN DPW BIDS ARE WEB BASED
This process allows our bids to be downloaded and available to many more vendors and contactors to look at much more rapidly and accurately. As a result, more vendors are able to easily bid and compete for our work and supplies.
This saves time and funds for work done in house and we also get more competitive bids that ultimately save money.
THEODORE YOUNG COMMUNITY CENTER
Our Rec1 system provides a more user-friendly experience as well as self-serve service (in house kiosk or online registration from comfort of home) allowing us to reduce our part time staffing.
We do have internet connected thermostats at the Multipurpose Building that allows us to control the cost of heating and cooling.
We are going to install cameras in Veteran Park this year that will allow us to secure the park without the cost of a security guard.
Our online registration allows residents to sign up for classes in the comfort of their home and cuts back on personnel at our registration office. The same software also makes it possible to communicate with our patrons who have signed up for classes and programs. We can inform them of last minute changes/cancellations, or advertise new programs directly through email.
We will bring wifi into AFV Park once the new telephone lines are installed.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION
• Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to maintain a database of existing, planned, under construction, and future sidewalks.
The Court is utilizing the latest technology in an effort to reduce storage space and costs.
All work stations located in the Court are now equipped with document scanners. The Court is in the process of scanning all court records, which includes case files, traffic tickets, correspondence, etc. in to the Court database. The Court is current with 2017 records and has begun scanning documents for 2016. The Court will continue working backwards until all Court records are scanned. Upon completion of this project, the Court will request destruction of eligible records thereby reducing or eliminating the expense for off-site storage of court records.
The library is a community resource that encourages innovation.There is not an aspect of the workflow at the library that does not use electronic technology. All employee records, all book and material purchases, maintenance, checkouts, check-ins, all book catalog records, our website, our internal document sharing, email, electronic content delivery - everythinig uses technology. In the past few months we have upgraded our security system to a digital, more reliable system, added apps for easier public access to material, provided online tutorials, and initiated a more robust social media strategy.
In the coming years we will provide more content (books, film, music, databases) in our shared model with Westchester Library System that is dependent upon changing technologies – especially streaming for audio and video as well as a growing electronic library of books. We will add at least one and perhaps two self-check machines for patron convenience and to enable staff reduction. Our web-based communication and promotion with patrons will depend even more on social media incorporated into a new website platform. Wireless technology will be enhanced and public will have use of tablets and laptops rather than desk based computers for in-library use.
The Building Department over the past year and half has been in the process of scanning our building permit files. We are currently about 1/3 complete. In September of this year the Laserfiche software was installed on some of our computers to give us access to permits that have been scanned. Once completed this will greatly aid building department staff in property searches.
This Department also purchased two tablet computers for our assistant inspectors to use in the field which allows them to look up permits and property history with our Municity software and enter there inspections or investigate complaints on site. Our inspectors enjoy the benefit of this tablet technology as it is faster and more effective way to retrieve and access information without having to contact the office by phone. We are budgeting for 3 more tablets for 2018.
ALLOWING CUSTOMERS TO PAY WATER BILLS ON LINE
Before the end of 2017 we will implement a new program—allowing our water customers to pay their bills on line.