Elgin city council gets a look at city’s revamped website
By Mike Danahey email@example.com July 25, 2012 10:30PM
Karla Persky, multimedia production specialist for the city of Elgin works a control board for video coverage of a Planning and Zoning meeting at City Hall in Elgin Monday. May 7, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:07AM
The city’s revamped website will be up and running today — and was a topic of discussion at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
Laurie-Faith Gibson, who is known in Elgin for her Lords Park Zoo advocacy work, was a paid consultant on the project. Wednesday morning City Manager Sean Stegall said the agreement with Gibson sets her payment at $19,500.
On Monday, Gibson said $2,500 from the city manager’s office account was used in September, 2011 to sign a renewal agreement with vendor CivicPlus, a Kansas-based company which specializes in government-related Internet products and services and which provided the backbone of what Elgin has been putting on the Web.
“That moves our current site from one (CMS) server to a newer host server within their environment. We couldn’t migrate without a redesign process from the old 2005-2009 host server within their network,” Gibson stated in an email.
Parks and Recreation, Police and Public Works agreed to do so, and Hemmens will be live in August when their rental season starts, each costing $2,500 according to city staff multimedia production specialist Karla Persky.
That brings the tab to $12,500 from the above departmental budgets, plus Gibson’s fee, to a total of $32,000. Gibson stated in an email that the city also pays a yearly servicing and hosting fee to CivicPlus that is about $14,000 a year.
The bill from CivicPlus was reduced by negotiating a $17,500 discount on redesign services, City Management Aaron Cosentino stated in an email. The deal also includes a redesign in four years.
In December, City Manager Sean Stegall said he had a verbal agreement with Gibson since February, 2011 for the work.
At the council session Wednesday, Gibson and Persky showed off the new look and discussed some of the new and/or improved features.
Persky said the site was last redesigned in 2008. Gibson noted that the city’s pages had to be cleaned up “to remove garbage results” before beginning the process of streamlining and making things more user-friendly.
People can create their own “My Elgin” accounts to keep track of the information they have been seeking on the Elgin site. The site also takes advantage of Google Translate for those who don’t speak English and Google’s Enhanced Search to make it easier to find items on the city’s pages.
Mayor David Kaptain and Police Chief Jeff Swoboda occasionally will be blogging for the site, and people can leave comments for them or on other pages — provided they created an account.
A request tracker will allow people to seek services. Each city department will be responsible for updating its own section.
Residents also will be able to fill out forms and/or purchase licenses and permits online. A job center is now one of the perma-links on the bottom of the homepage.
The page goes live at 7 a.m. today, and Gibson suggested people visit it and click on a “How Do I?” link and go through a “mega-menu” of what the site has to offer.