West Jordan is offering a new online tool that it hopes will lead to greater participation in city government.
The city has launched a new interactive city council agenda. It allows residents to make online comments on agenda items as soon as the list of issues that will be taken up by council members during their next meeting is available.
"This new interactive agenda will give our residents a chance to comment on the issues that they find are of interest without them having to come to the council meetings," said Kim Wells, the city's public information officer.
She said once comments are posted on the council's agenda, they will be printed out and read into the record of the meeting.
West Jordan is serving as the test bed for the new program that was created by Icount, a 2-year-old Orem-based company that has developed several products aimed at spurring increased resident participation in local government.
"Unfortunately, most local governments usually don't see a lot of their residents participating in their meetings, and those that do always wish they had even more people providing input," said Troy Bingham, Icount's chief executive.
Icount also offers a polling program that allows cities to post questions important to the community and residents to vote on those issues.
Bingham said one of the strengths of Icount's products is that they are capable of verifying the residency of those who offer comments or vote on issues. "You may not want someone commenting on an issue unless they actually live in the city."
West Jordan Mayor Melissa Johnson said she hopes the interactive agenda will lead to more input from residents and better government as a result.
"Since I became mayor, I've been disappointed in the level of community involvement in our local government," Johnson said. "During the last primary election, only 8 percent of our residents who were eligible to vote actually did so."
Johnson said West Jordan needs and wants its residents to be involved so they can help guide the city's leaders in the decisions they make. "The more input we get, the better our decisions."