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Erik Burgess, Published October 08 2013

Residents star in Fargo frequently-asked-questions videos

FARGO – They likely won’t go viral, but city officials hope new online videos answering frequent resident questions will be helpful and perhaps reduce the number of repeated inquiries at City Hall.

Fargo’s communication office on Tuesday began finalizing the first batch of resident FAQ videos. They will be posted on the city’s YouTube page and website, and shown on public access in about four weeks, said communications director Karena Carlson.

The city has been working on the videos since last winter, compiling and answering the top three or four most-asked questions from each of the city’s department heads, Carlson said.

“We’re always looking for new ways to communicate with residents,” she said. “Technology is changing so fast that I think relying on them to just call us doesn’t work anymore.”

A handful of residents signed up to star in the question portions of the videos, which were filmed on Tuesday. City staff members have been working for about the past year filming the answers, Carlson said.

At the beginning of the video, residents pose a question such as: “What can the city do if a neighbor’s tree branch is leaning over into my yard and damaging my fence?”

Then the city replies. In this case, the Forestry Department has no jurisdiction over private trees unless they are infected with Dutch elm disease, are threatening right of way or are a public nuisance.

Local actor Craig Roath, who played the part of a concerned resident in one video on Tuesday, said he thought this was a good way for him to give back to the community.

“I’ve lived here a long time and I love the place, and I just thought it’d be kind of fun and help out at the same time,” Roath said.

Another video shot Tuesday features Cole Carley, former president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, Carlson said.

She said the city will continue to film the videos as they have time until all 20 of the city’s departments are covered, likely extending into next year. She said the city will also track how people view the videos online.

“These videos will be relevant for years to come,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518