Breaking down UPLNK requests and how the city is responding

Data shows the city gets about 10,000 requests each year.
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2022 at 9:01 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - With an app on your phone, Lincoln people can communicate directly with the City and let them know about non-emergency issues and hazards.

It’s through the UPLNK program, which the city has now had for more than four years.

10/11 NOW took a look at how the City is responding.

“We’re here to serve the public,” City Ombudsman Lin Quenzer said. “That’s why we have these apps. And this kind of connectivity is because we want to be responsive.”

Quenzer said while the city has had a citizen request program for two decades, UPLNK has changed the way her office works.

“Before we had this type of program where you can report online or on your phone, when I was taking like 700-800 calls a year of you know cases that need to be routed and figured out and everything,” she said.

Data shows the city gets about 10,000 requests each year. The top requests in the last year were tall grass/weeds, potholes, tree issues, parking more than 24 hours and COVID-19 general concerns.

10/11 NOW followed the Parks and Recreation Department as they responded to a request which came to Julie Grandquist, Administration Office Specialist inbox.

“We definitely get a fair amount of Uplink issues, usually half a dozen to a dozen a day on the weekends,” Grandquist said.

Grandquist screens the emails and forwards them on to a district supervisor to repair. Supervisor Ryan Murrell said he repairs a request about once a week, from things like the broken a picnic table to picking up trash.

Mike Comstock, also with Parks and Recreation said the best part about UPLNK is it connects people with the right departments.

“If you’re out in the park, you might not necessarily know exactly where to send something to where if you have this app, you can contact you know, the parks department or, you know, other departments to if you have different concerns that might be addressed by different areas,” Comstock said.

A request to fix a broken picnic table at Peter Pan Park was submitted the same day the department went out for repair, and while the responses aren’t always that quick, Quenzer said she’s satisfied with the City’s stats.

Data shows on average, it takes the city 1.5 days to acknowledge requests and 14.6 days to close them, so either fix it or investigate and determine it’s not an issue.

“I think those are great. It shows we have an outstanding staff here in the City of Lincoln,” Quenzer said. “You know depending on what the issue is some things take longer to fix than others and some things are just more difficult to fix than others.”

The categories that have the longest response times are those related to the health department like food safety or pest complaints; those can take upwards of two months to close because the health department has to go through a specific process to remedy them.

“They have to make sure everything is up to snuff,” Quenzer said.

Overall, those 10/11 NOW interviewed said the UPLNK program is working.

“It’s good to see that, you know, we can get out and address these problems quickly and efficiently,” Comstock said. “You know, from receiving the complaint, all the way to completion.”

Because they said it gives the tax payers a direct line to the people they’re paying.

“It makes the government work for you,” Quenzer said.

To submit a request on UPLNK, download the app or go to the website and create an account. It will ask for a photo of the request, a location, the applicable category and a description of the situation.