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Engage Hillsborough: Let’s Chat!

Monday, March 9, 2020
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If it’s tough making it to an evening board meeting or you’re unsure how you can connect with us, we want to make it easier for you!

The Town of Hillsborough has launched Engage Hillsborough, a second online engagement platform we are testing in an effort to make public participation easier for our community. On the site, we’ll post information on projects, services and issues. And we’ll ask you to interact with us through a variety of tools, including discussion forums, polls, surveys and crowdsource mapping.

“Helping all segments of our community be informed is a high priority for the town,” Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver said. “No one medium is perfect, but we are hoping that finding the right online tool can offer one more way for people to be connected and informed.”

Current pages on the site include information about why it’s important to keep fats, oil and grease out of your drains, why your participation is necessary in the 2020 census, and what you need to know about the annual monthlong change in our disinfection of the water system. Also included is a Rumors page, where you can let us know of a rumor you’ve heard or a question you have about town services, decisions or proposals. We’ll track down answers for you!

By answering quick polls and participating in forums on the site, you’ll help us gauge what communication tools are working and which issues we could better communicate about. You’ll also inform town leaders and staff in their decision-making. Your feedback will be used in conjunction with other activities ― such as meetings, open houses or surveys ― to try to reach a more representative cross-section of our community.

How to participate

Registration is not required to access Engage Hillsborough, but it’s necessary to participate in many of the interactive tools. Your comments will appear under your username, and you can comment anonymously through a username of your choice. Registration will:

  • Help us ensure a broader set of perspectives are represented by attributing feedback and frequency of feedback to individuals.
  • Promote accountability and encourage thoughtful responses because feedback can be attributed to individuals.
  • Allow us to keep you informed about upcoming projects, opportunities to engage, or major changes to a project.
  • Help us determine whether the platform meets goals for extending outreach.

To participate, register at engage.hillsboroughnc.gov/register, where you’ll create a username and password and complete a few questions about yourself. The questions will help us determine who is participating in online opportunities and whether we're meeting our goal of being as representative of the community as possible.

See the About Engage Hillsborough page for answers to questions about the platform, the privacy policy and the forum etiquette and moderation policy.

Pilot projects

Engage Hillsborough is an online software platform created by the global company Bang the Table. The town is testing the EngagementHQ platform for six months and the online engagement platform Polco for up to a year. The Polco site ― www.polco.us/hillsboroughnc ― was launched last month and allows the community to answer and comment on questions posted by town staff via Polco’s app and website. See the Engagement Platforms page on the town’s website for additional information on Hillsborough’s use of Polco.

A portion of both pilots is part of the Small Places, Big Ideas Innovation Cohort. The Town of Hillsborough is a member of the inaugural innovation cohort, which is supported by the professional association Engaging Local Government Leaders and the software platform UrbanLeap, which helps cities test and evaluate innovative solutions.

The cohort consists of local governments across the country that have partnered to address shared challenges. Hillsborough is focusing on civic engagement with Morrisville, Rolesville and Sanford under the umbrella of the Triangle J Council of Governments. Staff will report to the cohort members and others in May on the results of our use of the two engagement platforms.