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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Residents can sign up for alerts by texting "BELLAVISTA" to 77453. An opt-out notice and a thank-you message will confirm successful registration.

The city has communicated with the public over social media and email in the past, and now it's opened up a new avenue: text messages.

Communications manager Cassi Lapp explained that the city has purchased a service from Trumpia, a marketing and messaging software provider, to allow residents to opt-in and receive alerts about the city via text message.

"It gives us another outlet to make sure that people are aware of the things going on in the city that will affect their day-to-day lives," she said.

The service, part of the 2018 budget, is on a $3,500 annual contract that is split between the communications and human resources departments, Lapp said.

Human resources, she said, will have a separate database of phone numbers used to send alerts and reminders to employees and help in recruiting.

Residents can opt-in by texting "BELLAVISTA" in all caps, all one word, to 77453. They will receive a confirmation message when the registration is successful.

It's important to note this is completely optional, she said, and recipients may opt out at any time by texting "STOP" back to the five-digit number.

Recipients can expect to see roughly four messages in a typical month, Lapp said, though a particularly significant emergency may result in more. Typical messages, she said, will be about road closures and other projects. Moreover, she said, some may ask if the recipient is affected by a given project -- someone who answers "no" will stop receiving updates about it.

Lapp said that residents may also respond to a message if they have a quick question or need clarification, and those messages will go to her for an answer. It's important to note, she said, this is not a good platform for a full discussion and, if anyone has an in-depth question, it would be best to call city hall at 479-876-1255 or email her at clapp@bellavistaar.gov.

The messages are limited by time of day because of federal standards, she said, meaning messages are not going to be going out at strange times of the day.

This service should prove helpful, she said, because, while not everyone uses social media, most people have a cellphone these days, meaning this program may allow the city to reach a larger number of residents.

"The more opportunities we have to get information out to residents the better," Lapp said.

General News on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: City Sending Text Alerts

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