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Website lets residents sound off on government

Published April 6, 2011 7:48 pm

Icount • System helps cities determine public opinion on civic issues.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Upset about a budget proposal to cut services? Want a say in a plan to develop your city's downtown?

Whatever's on your mind, a Utah company is offering a way for constituents to voice their opinions without going to City Hall. Icount has a website at which constituents can send comments and participate in surveys on civic matters.

"Every city, every county is facing issues that impact their residents," Brad Rutledge, a spokesman for the Orem-based company, said. "This is a system where they can communicate directly with their city."



To participate, residents should visit icount.com and register. The site requires a home address and some personal information so the company can ensure, through public databases, that the registrant does live in the community.

Once registered, residents can connect with local, state and national elected officials. In addition, cities and individual politicians can post their own surveys and information about issues on the Icount.

Residents may participate in polls for their community. The basic services are free. Politicians or special interest groups that do polling or want more detailed figures, such as which way certain geographic areas of a city voted on an issue, pay a nominal fee.

Holladay, which recently started using Icount, is asking residents what makes the city unique. City Manager Randy Fitts is pleased that the site provides a service that doesn't impose any extra costs on Holladay.

"We thought it could be a way we could receive input from citizens," he said.

Troy Bingham, one of Icount's founders, said the site grew out of frustration with existing communication channels when he wanted to give his opinion in 2009 on national issues. The company, which launched in November, forwards emails and letters to a constituent's representatives, even if the city has not signed up with Icount.

"We want it to be a grass roots movement where people get their elected officials to communicate with them," Bingham said. "We're inviting users to start the conversation."

Herriman, the first city to sign with Icount, asked its residents to vote on whether to bond for $2 million to complete the entire design project of 5600 West. Cottonwood Heights plans to use Icount eventually for an issue where a poll would be the best way to gather information, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Archibald.

Woods Cross recently decided to use Icount after researching ways to make the city more accessible to residents, Mayor Kent Parry said.

"This was one more component," Parry said, noting that Woods Cross also has Twitter and Facebook accounts.

pmanson@sltrib.com —

Sound off online

O Utahns may visit icount.com and be matched with city, state and federal elected officials based on address.

Cities using Icount include Eagle Mountain, Herriman, Holladay, Provo and Woods Cross, and elected officials include U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz and U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.

 

 

 

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