One of the specific features of the Agenda and Meeting software that has led to noticeable time savings is item creation and the ability for staff to add items directly onto the agenda. Before, items were created and then assigned to agendas. This process could take staff an hour for each meeting. Now, according to Paxton, it is done in minutes. And for busy city staff, every minute counts. Other features that have garnered positive feedback from contributors to the agenda, including the mayor's administrative staff, is the ability to drag-and-drop files, easily rename them, and generate forms without having to export and combine multiple PDFs.
One of the most beneficial, time-saving results realized by Fayetteville has stemmed from quick and reliable customer support, which the city struggled with before transitioning to CivicPlus.
"We have a lot of city staff with different backgrounds that can now go into the software and make changes themselves without having to send in a support ticket. Previously, that would take months to get solved. Now — an example being the other day — I sent a short question in the live chat feature, and my question was answered in 15 minutes," says Paxton.
In addition to having a reliable support team, Paxton appreciates the help center provided by CivicPlus, which includes articles with step-by-step screenshots that she has been able to turn into SOPs. With a robust help center and a live 24-7 support chat feature, the city can focus on providing transparent and efficient public meetings for its residents.
"Public servants need reliable software to serve the public properly. And if by any chance there is an issue — which there hasn't been so far — You can hop on and ask a question. Or if it's an emergency, you have the comfort of knowing there's a person on the other end to help you," Paxton adds.
Integrated Technology and Flat-Rate Supplements from Municode Codification by CivicPlus®
As the 5-year contract was drawing to a close with Municode, Paxton and the city evaluated other options but found that not only did Municode Codification offer the most comprehensive features, but also offered integration options with Fayetteville's other CivicPlus products — such as CivicPlus'® Municipal Websites and Agenda and Meeting Management solutions.
Fayetteville is actively using the integration between CivicPlus'® Agenda and Meeting Management system and Municode Codification — which allows staff to push ordinances to the in-house CivicPlus legal team for codification and to the city's online code of ordinances straight from the Agenda and Meeting Management console, reducing the manual steps associated with this process. Another critical integration of the town is between the Municipal Websites, Code of Ordinances, and Agenda and Meeting Management search feature. Users can search for a topic, and the results contain content from all three locations, increasing access and transparency for residents and staff alike.
Similar to her experience with Agenda & Meetings, Kara boosted on superior customer service, and how working with the same people at Municode for many years has resulted in positive and effective experiences.
Another benefit from Municode Codification includes transitioning to an annual flat supplement rate. "Before the flat rate," Paxton says, "it would take much time for their codifier to go through and calculate per-page rates to verify the invoice. And if one of the other departments were to have a large supplement come in at a certain point, we don't have to worry."
Mobile-Friendly Website and 311 CRM Software
In addition to their Agenda and Meeting Management software and Municode Codification, Fayetteville's municipal website is hosted by CivicPlus. The city's website is built to serve its residents online. Community members can report concerns, apply for permits and licenses, explore GIS maps, pay bills, manage services, sign up for notifications, and more. Paxton noted improvements to its navigation, accessibility, and mobile compatibility. She has received positive feedback regarding the ability to view the website on small mobile devices by subscribing to calendars and notifications, all while on the go.
Fayetteville utilizes two additional CivicPlus solutions. Monsido, acquired last year by CivicPlus, provides the city with peace of mind by ensuring the website is accessible and compliant.
The city is managing, responding to, and resolving resident requests by utilizing SeeClickFix 311 CRM. Their use of the 311 CRM software resulted in the town being awarded the 2022 Trendsetter City from Arkansas Municipal League's 2023 Winter Conference in Little Rock. The Technology and Security category recognizes advances in using technology to improve city communications or services.
Utilizing CivicPlus as a Technology Partner for Positive Civic Experiences
Paxton said there are benefits of implementing software that works together, including providing a seamless experience for residents:
"What we noticed with CivicPlus is that when software programs are implemented or integrated, they work. I've noticed situations where organizations bought software with legacy systems. It was tough to make them work together, so the ability to implement multiple products together made a big difference. We already had a CivicPlus website, and our agenda management and codification software had the most advantages compared to the other options, so the answer was simple."
Paxton noted that with CivicPlus, she feels like something other than a customer but a partner. The people at CivicPlus are actively looking for how to improve the products, which brings about an exciting yet comforting future.
"One thing I love is when we talk to someone at CivicPlus — whether for Agenda and Meeting Management, Codification, or our website — If we have an idea, everybody is open to hearing it. And if it's something they don't have implemented yet, they take that feedback and plan how they can make it work for us in the future. This gives you more ownership of the product and a feeling of being a partner versus a customer," Paxton says.