Roseville is scrapping its contract with a firm that provides an online means of voicing opinions on issues before the city.
The “Speak Up” platform is intended to solve the age-old problem of linking more than just a few civic activists into the process of City Hall decisionmaking.
But it also requires responses from city officials if residents are to stay engaged, promoters of the product have stressed. And the Roseville council member who sounded most crestfallen last week over abandonment of the effort said she wasn’t sure that City Hall did its part.
“People didn’t know if something got read or not,” lamented Lisa Laliberte. “The whole idea was to dialogue with the city. Residents felt we didn’t deliver on that.”
“Speak Up Roseville” cost the city $4,800 a year, a figure that city officials said might be better spent on newsletter enhancements or something of that sort.
The online platform remains active in Edina and in other jurisdictions around the metro area.
The first in Roseville to take a swing at it were Council Members Robert Willmus and Jason Etten. Willmus said it duplicated conventional social media.
“We had a Facebook post directing people to ‘Speak Up’,” he said. “It’s difficult to use and cumbersome on mobile devices.”
Providers of such platforms say that they offer more coherent, focused byplay than standard social media options.
Etten said that while user numbers had grown, it looked as if “that was thrown off by one hot topic, ” namely Roseville’s decision to hire sharpshooters for deer. “Other ways people use are cheaper and more accepted.”