City of Wichita holds social media town hall; residents give input online

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The social media world buzzed to new heights in Wichita on Tuesday during the city’s annual social media town hall meeting.

“We want to make it easy for our community to weigh in on the direction that they would like to see their city go,” said City of Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Instead of residents having to go to a public meeting to get their questions answered or their concerns heard, city officials went directly to them on Facebook and Twitter.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay took questions from the public for about 20 minutes on Facebook live. He touched on several topics including community policing, gangs and Old Town security.

“Some of these were very legitimate questions, timely questions that people wanted to know,” Ramsay said.

People also wanted to know about the city’s traffic signals. They commented on Facebook asking the department why it seems the green lights rarely match up. A city traffic engineer quickly responded on Facebook.

“We are improving our communication between the signals so they can talk to each other and know, hey, I’m green and you are going to need to be green in 10 seconds,” said Traffic Engineer Brian Coon.

Coon said the department is currently working on improving the traffic lights at three major corridors: East Central, Rock Road and an area of downtown.

Mayor Longwell said Tuesday’s social media town hall was a success.

“This helps us expand so we have a better understanding of not what just a few people who work hard to get there want, but a broader spectrum of the city,” Longwell said.

City officials will take into account Tuesday’s conversations when determining the 2017, 2018 budget.

The budget is expected to be presented to the city council in July.

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