County Website Gets a Facelift
Montgomery County Commissioners announced Wednesday an overhaul of the county's website, complete with new functionality and features.
Visitors to Montgomery County's website earlier this week (including this Patch editor) were treated to a surprise when we discovered the county's once drab and somewhat outdated portal had been given a facelift.
Montgomery County Commissioners Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards and Bruce Castor invited the media up to One Montgomery Plaza on Wednesday to get a primer on the new changes and what it means for the county and its residents.
"It's far more interactive, much more user friendly, and eliminates the use of paper in many different ways," said Commissioner Chair Shapiro. "We're excited about this unveiling today."
The site, said Shapiro, puts residents in a position to interact with the county government in a way they never have been able to do before – from the comfort of their own home.
Some of the features of the new website include:
- A new, more comprehensive search feature that searches .pdf documents as well as site pages.
- A "How Do I..." feature that gives users directions for a variety of more commonplace activities like applying for county jobs (something that can now be done completely digitally), getting a passport, reporting child abuse or finding a polling place or recycling center.
- A news feed that will be continually updated with county news, events, emergency alerts, job openings and requests for proposals.
- Links to all of the county's social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Paper.li.
Users will also be able to create a profile that allows them to personalize the experience and keep specific information and forms in one location. The site can also be accessed in one of 65 different languages to serve almost all of the county's residents.
"Communication is key to being able to govern well," said Richards. She said the new site will allow the county government to communicate better and more directly with both residents and businesses.
Castor was also apparently impressed with the new website's functionality.
"I didn't even know we had a website until now," he joked.
According to the commissioners, the new site, a collaboration between the county's IT department and Kansas-based website designer CivicPlus, cost the county just over $267,199 – far below the original $600,000 budgeted for the project. Shapiro noted that it's also less that the county paid for its original site, developed more than eight years ago.
Funds for the website redesign came from the County's Record Improvement Fund (CRIF) and not from the county's general fund, Shapiro pointed out.
"This is part of an ongoing effort for Montgomery County to move its information technology into the 21st Century," he said. "Not only have we embraced social media, not only do we now have a new website, but we've also moved a huge part of our operations to cloud-based services."
Shapiro said the county would continue to push efforts to modernize its technology.
"We've got further steps to take to continue to make Montgomery County cutting edge," he said. "To help people online interact with our county, and to help our constituents stay informed."
Check out the county's new website at www.montcopa.org.