To curb complaints, Oswego may alert residents to water main breaks, road construction

Mar 20, 2019

The city of Oswego may start notifying residents when there are issues affecting city services around where they live. The city has received a number of complaints from people regarding a lack of notification.  

After three years in office, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the issue is one the city continually has to address.

Mayor Billy Barlow.
Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

“We found that people were becoming really irate at times over the summer, when their water would suddenly be turned off because we had a water main break or we had to do road construction,” Barlow said. "A lot of times, residents weren't getting notified because nobody was notified, it was an emergency." 

Barlow said they started looking into ways to notify residents. It led them to a mass notification system that could alert landlines and cell phones to different situations, like boil water advisories or winter parking policies.

"This will be a call or a text that can go out to a residence and say hey, expect your water to be off for four hours while we repair this," Barlow said.

And the messages could be sent to specific houses.

"If only three homes on a block are affected by a water turnoff, we could make sure that those three homes get notified via text message or telephone call, and the other homes aren't inconvenienced with that information," Barlow said. 

The Oswego Common Council will vote on an agreement with the notification company, Alert Media, on Monday. The service is free for residents, who would have to subscribe into the program. It would cost the city around $4,500 annually.