filler

Ammon will soon launch a text alert system to inform residents about snow removal and other citywide events.

The Ammon city council approved the contract with the Idaho Falls company Txtwire during its Thursday night meeting. The city will pay one cent for every text message it sends through the alert system, with no setup fee or minimum monthly price on top of it.

“This is the only contract I have ever seen that has one penny listed as the only cost,” Mayor Sean Coletti said.

The city had considered similar text alert systems in the past but gave the issue a renewed focus due to the frequent snowfall this winter. City administrator Micah Austin estimated that this winter, the city would have paid around $50 per snow event to alert every household in Ammon through the Txtwire system.

Txtwire was founded by Daniel Beck and is headquartered in Idaho Falls. The city of Idaho Falls signed its contract with Txtwire in 2008 that included $1,400 in set-up and training to use the service. City spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said that just over 10,000 residents were currently signed up for alerts for various events through the Parks and Recreation department and 4,700 were receiving alerts about snow removals.

“We encourage them to sign up for multiple forms of communications, not just text alerts but other forms of communication in case there are technology issues with one of them,” Hammon said.

Idaho Falls also advertises the snow parking restrictions through email alerts, electronic signs and a banner on the city website that was first debuted earlier this week.

The text alerts will operate as an opt-in system, so residents will have to sign up for alerts in order to receive them. Ammon officials expect to begin notifying residents about the alerts in the next few weeks via Facebook posts and utility bills.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.