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City of Arlington starts E-News, more
ARLINGTON — The city of Arlington has recently begun to find new methods for communicating with city residents, including more of a digital and social media presence.
“The big thing is that we are doing a lot more on our website and with social media,” said Kristin Banfield, assistant city administrator. “We have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, which has been very useful for emergency situations.”
Banfield described a situation when a vehicle collision on 172nd Street caused severe traffic delays. “It was really easy to put it on Facebook and Tweet it. A lot of people were saying, ‘Thank you for warning us,’” she said. “We follow the [Washington State Department of Transportation] on Twitter and they follow us, so we can get traffic information that way.”
The transition to an online and social media form of communications is in some ways affected by the economy, said Banfield.
“In the era of tight, tight, tight budgets we weren’t able to do a print newsletter like we used to,” she said. “We were only able to do three per year, so we asked, ‘How do we communicate with residents and business owners?’”
The city launched their social media profiles in January and began a weekly e-newsletter in April. The e-newsletter, built by Parks and Recreation Director Sarah Lopez, goes out every Friday and contains pertinent information that local residents might need.
“Everyone communicates differently,” said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. “It’s in everyone’s best interest and my best interest to have taxpayers know what their city is doing.”
The city posts council agendas, workshops, minutes and recordings on their website. “We want people to be as engaged in their government as possible,” said Tolbert.
Their e-newsletters also announce community and business events such as movies in the park and sporting activities.
In addition to keeping people informed, the city is also looking to receive input from residents.
“If you look at it, it’s more than just one-sided. It can be a two-way dialogue,” said Tolbert. “I’ve received a lot of positive comments from people. They like to be kept informed.”
Local resident Mary Chesney was one of those people. “Thank you for the updates,” she wrote in an email to the city. “I’ve enjoyed reading about what is going on in Arlington through these notes.”
For more information on the E-newsletter or to sign up to receive them, call Lopez at 360-403-3448 or go to the city’s website at www.arlingtonwa .gov.