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City of Rochester looks to boost civic engagement with launch of new online tool

City of Rochester looks to boost civic engagement with launch of new online tool

The City of Rochester recently launched Polco, an innovative engagement platform where residents can directly provide input to the local government decision-making process. The City of Rochester is making public participation easier for residents by meeting them where they are.

“The use of Polco is reflective of the City’s commitment to diversifying engagement tools, specifically through the use of innovative technology,” shares City Administrator Steve Rymer. “Over the next year, we will work to get community members signed up and using Polco. This platform will be a great addition to the other engagement channels we utilize.”

The City of Rochester will be asking residents for their input on a variety of topics. There will be a standard set of questions asked monthly. This is in addition to questions related to timely topics. For example, the set of March questions focus on how community members rate Rochester as a place to live, raise children, work, etc. In the coming weeks, there will be questions about the potential Silver Lake projects.

“In 2018, 74 percent of the Rochester community exercised their right to vote,” says City Clerk & Communications Director, Anissa Hollingshead. “This percentage is a great example of the level of civic engagement our community is committed to. We realize that attending a meeting is not always the easiest way for community members to receive information or provide feedback. Polco will provide Rochester residents another opportunity to share their feedback, consistently, with the City of Rochester.”

In October 2018, Polco was selected as an Enterprise Partner with the National League of Cities and is recognized as its exclusive online engagement platform. Polco is committed to a strict privacy policy where they only share aggregated de-identified results. Participants’ individual data and votes are never shared.

Rochester residents begin giving input by downloading the Polco app for Android or iOS, or by visiting https://polco.us/groups/city/rochester-mn and creating an account. Polco’s platform is available via web, mobile app, email, and any place Polco e-ballots are found online. This service is free to all Rochester residents.

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