The city is giving a new tool to its one million residents, a new app called My San Jose. The app was launched Monday after several months of beta testing.
The smartphone app gives people an easy way to contact the city to file a complaint. Residents can still call in and submit photos and videos.
However, after a year-long development process, Mayor Sam Liccardo thinks it lets the appropriate agency or crew hear of the problem directly from citizens.
"A street light problem may simply be the replacement of a light bulb. That takes a couple days. It may be that someone has stolen copper wire, and that can be a very complex and expensive problem and take several weeks," explained Mayor Sam Liccardo.
He hopes it will speed up response time by crews and help create pride in neighborhoods when residents see results after using the app.
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ABC7 News was on Quincy Drive in San Jose this morning where a crew from Environmental Services was busy going from pile after pile of debris left at curbside.
Two couches were left in front of one house. A resident said they had been there for two weeks. A few doors down, large trash bags filled with discarded items were quickly picked up the crew.
Mayor Liccardo acknowledged that staffing is thin in city departments, but hiring is underway to double the number of crews assigned to illegal dumping.
In a six-month period, from last July to January of this year, the city said it picked up 2000 mattresses, 906 shopping carts, 680 tons of mixed debris, 498 gallons of motor oil, 189 gallons of paint, 308 gallons of human biological waste, and 1200 sofas.
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"If things aren't being reported, we don't know about it. So, in order for us to respond, these things need to be reported," said Ed Ramirez, the Rapid Response team supervisor. "We get a lot of raw chicken. We've had crates of mannequins found, mangled ATM machines, but for the most part, it's large items like mattresses, couches, refrigerators, furniture."
The city imposes hefty fines for illegal dumping: $2500 for a first offense, $5000 for a second offense, and $10,000 for a third.
The Mayor said unlicensed contractors are a major source of the illegal dumping, but he says it is difficult to catch them.