By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
After 15 years with the same firm providing the City of Washington?s website, Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson reported today that the city is looking at building a new site to make it more easy to use.
Hinson also said the new website would probably be an official government website with the .gov Domain Name System indicating restricted use by government entities. He said the agreement for changing the format of the site would be discussed during the Washington City Council?s Nov. 7 meeting, including the design and address. The current site is located at www.washingtoniowa.net.
?It hasn?t been majorly upgraded in a long time,? Hinson said. ?We are still using the basic format. It is going to make it a little more modern looking. There really hasn?t been much done to the format since it was put up.?
Hinson said the current City of Washington site had been put up in 2002.
The content of the page is good, Hinson said, but the city has decided to change the format significantly.
Last December, the city had modified its existing site to allow people to pay bills online.
Hinson said the current website is from a very basic template and the new site would allow easier access to some kinds of information. One example he gave is the city codes would be sorted by chapter, allowing people to go straight to the chapter of a code they want to research.
He said the new website would resemble the City of Coralville?s site. He also said that the site, once the council approves the change, would take a few months of design before it is ready to go live.
While the city had budgeted $5,000 this year for upgrades to the site, Hinson said the $5,000 cost of the new site would be spread out over three years. Currently, the city pays about $1,100 per year for its website. He said the council will vote on an agreement for the site and would discuss features for the site.
?You need to freshen up a website from time to time anyway, but we are hoping to make the information easier to get to and we are hoping to add some additional info that will be useful to the public,? he said. ?The new website format we are looking at going to also will have the ability for us to put up alerts at the top of the screen.?