Cost, efficiency and accountability for town workers are a few reasons the Cheraw Town Council is considering buying Mobile311 vehicle GPS software. Councilmembers discussed the wireless system during their weekly briefing on Tuesday.
The software will give administrators, depending on how in-depth they choose to be, the ability to track each vehicle in certain departments — including speed, location and time spent at that location.
Town Administrator Mike Smith said the software would be useful when residents call in and say their trash was not picked up or the truck wasn’t on their street on a particular day.
With GPS, “it helps so much with where someone says, ‘Town people came by and damaged my fence,’ and then you can go back and see where our people weren’t even in the area,” he said. “It helps in that regards.”
GIS identifiers will also help when trucks are out in the field and workers will be able to pinpoint things such as a manhole cover or a valve.
The information will be accessible from any smartphone, tablet or computer. A display panel can mounted in the vehicle or the employees can carry them in their pockets. The software is completely Web-based.
Smith said the town of Cheraw will be the sole owner of the information.
Currently, town workers have to put in work orders and keep a paper trail of their day, logging where they’ve been and noting whether there are bulk items that need to be picked up. With Mobile311, those picking up trash will be able to note the bulk item and its location and a secondary truck will be able to go and pick it up.
There is also an option for workers to take pictures of the items they are picking up if the council chooses to utilize it.
Initial cost for the Mobile311 software is $10,000, which does not include the GPS units. Those will have to be purchased locally through a mobile service provider.
If the contract is renewed, the cost drops to $7,000. Both startup and the annual costs are strictly for the storage of the information.
The water and sanitation departments are expected to share some of the costs.
Smith told councilmembers he will provide them with a hard copy of the information so they can look at it in more detail. Mayor Andy Ingram suggested getting the department heads together to discuss it as well.
The council agreed that in the long run, using GPS tracking will be more cost-effective to the town.
No further business was discussed on Tuesday. Smith reminded the council there will be no briefing meeting next week.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.