Those navigating David City's government website will likely soon see a revamped, user-friendly page enabling residents to get the information and documentation they need in the easiest way possible.
City officials have been in the process of speaking with a handful of website designers all looking to land the contract.
“I definitely see some value in doing it,” Ward 1 City Council Member Skip Trowbridge said during an interview with The Banner-Press. “It won't be horribly expensive and what we have now is very antiquated in how it is updated and it's not user-friendly at all. It's now state of the art at all, and I'd say the technology is probably 10 years old.
“I would like to see it be an easier process for the taxpayer to use. I want our (meeting) minutes to be more accessible so that people can get them just by typing in a word string.”
Trowbridge said that the city has been in contact with four or five companies looking to get the job done. During last Wednesday's city council meeting, two companies made approximately 30-minute pitches highlighting what they bring to the table.
Lincoln-based Foundation for Educational Service and Michigan-based Revised Government Websites both had representatives discuss their various services and how they would market David City as a community through its online presence.
Currently, city officials noted how they have trouble placing documents and information onto the existing website. The tab users can click to access meeting minutes isn't functioning and an assortment of other updating issues are ongoing.
Both companies said how what they provide wouldn't only be optimal functionality, but a way for David City to brand itself and really stand out. The new site would enable users to access the city's Facebook page, allow city administrators to provide up-to-date notices and pertinent information, along with home page space for photos, videos and other information selling David City as a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Both presenters noted how the packages they offer are mobile-friendly and compliant with standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“It looks really professional – it really has some good pop to it,” said Stacey Anderson of the nonprofit Foundation for Educational Services (FES). “It's something people will land on and say, 'Oh, this is really cool.' It's something that's really inviting.”
FES has previously worked on government websites for other Nebraska cities like Beatrice, Neleigh, Crete and Wahoo. All cities utilizing FES' services also have the option of providing a smartphone app that's free of charge for its residents.
Revised Government Website representatives, which noted they have at least 1,500 government clients nationwide and have won 100 website awards in the last five years, offer similar four basic website design templates and also provide phone application services at no charge to local users.
“So what are we looking at in terms of the fee structure, what will something like this cost us?” Mayor Alan Zavodny inquired.
Anderson said that the fee structure for FES really is dependent on the population size of the municipality benefiting from its services. She said that the city would pay about $2,900 per year, along with another $200 expense for the phone app if desired.
A Revised Government Websites official during a phone conversation with the city council said that its services would run $5,000 upfront and then $1,600 for the second year of service and beyond.
The goal is to now get the contract awarded in a timely fashion, Trowbridge said, adding that his own preference at this point is the Foundation for Educational Services.
“I think we would like to get it contracted relatively soon so hopefully we don't have to sit through too many more of those presentations,” he said, with a laugh. “But I thought (Anderson) appeared to be very sincere in her desire to help us do the right kind of things, and I kind of enjoyed that.
“I think that the nonprofit would do some good things for the city and it doesn't have to be sales driven.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at email@example.com.