City’s new website nearly ready for launch
Published 12:12 am Saturday, January 10, 2015
NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez’s updated website is expected to launch this month.
Holidays and staff members traveling pushed the launch on the website back from the previous release date in November.
“We are working diligently to put some finishing touches on the website,” said Information Technology Director Ed Bowser.
CivicPlus, a government website developing company out of Manhattan, Kansas, is helping redesign the city’s website.
“There is a lot of interactive capabilities that residents will be able to sign up for,” Bowser said. “(CivicPlus) took our current site and moved it around.”
The city has entered into a four-year contract with CivicPlus, which requires the city to pay nearly $11,000 a year for the website to be maintained.
However, Bowser said, the fee will decrease to nearly $200 a year once the contract is up. And as long as the city continues to pay this fee, CivicPlus will revamp the website when needed for free.
The website will include an online payment center for bills, bid postings, city documents, job postings, online applications, news alerts, a staff director, photo galleries facilities and reservations, a request tracker and other features.
City departments will also have sections of the website to provide relevant information to residents.
“If a water main breaks and we need to close a section of the street, you can receive that message via email or text,” Bowser said. “That interactive connectivity, which is the next step with the way websites are being developed, is very important.
“It’s not just an information site anymore; it’s a dynamic site.”
Bowser said the IT department faced several challenges while preparing to change the website’s appearance.
“We wanted to be able to put in a historic, but modern aspect on it,” Bowser said. “One of our main challenges was getting that input from different folks on what we can do to better the website for the city.”
Bowser said the main goal with revamping the website comes from getting relevant information to make the website more efficient.
“The nice thing is that the information can be updated rather quickly,” Bowser said.
The website design will also include the development of a mobile app, which residents can download to their devices.
Bowser said the renovated website could not have been completed without city and non-city employees.