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A new, revamped web site for the City of Monticello is on the way, and should be active within two months.
The city council on Jan. 28 approved a contract with Kansas-based Civic Plus to design and maintain www.cityofmonticello.net. Features of the town's second website – www.MonticelloEnews.com – will be included in the new site.
Callie McFarland, Monticello's director of community development, hopes the new site will be more user friendly. She told council members it would include automatic text and email alerts for boil orders and other breaking information.
"In this age of social media, people are waiting for information to come to them, not the other way around," said McFarland. "This is a more aggressive effort in getting information out."
The new site, which will cost $4,800 to design and $2,160 a year to maintain, also includes a searchable archive center for meeting minutes and other documents, a calendar of events, news and announcements, and a dashboard that can be organized according to individual user preferences.
The board voted 5-1 to go with Civic Plus, with Vince Kuetemeyer casting the only 'no' vote.
"This is classy stuff," said Kuetemeyer when viewing samples of the web design firm's work.
But he also thought the cost was too high. The five-year outlay will be $15,600, well above some bids that totalled just under $6,000.
"I will not vote for the second-highest bid," said Keutemeyer.
Alderman Kevin Hiller asked if city staff would be able to update the site easily, and was assured by McFarland that the new site will give the staff plenty of control.
"It's a pain to have to go back to the (website) administrator to change things," commented Hiller.
Public comment policy
Council members came under fire again for a public use policy that was officially put on the city books at the Jan. 28 session.
Brian Fulton, who had urged the council to formally adopt the policy, expressed "gratitude" for making it official, but did not like the fact that audience members needed to be on a sign-in sheet to address the council at its regular sessions.
For the second straight session, Steve Shreffler also criticized the area set aside for those video taping meetings, saying it did not give a good view of the entire council.
In other action, the council:
• approved a ninth supplement to the city code, which will add newly-adopted ordinances to the document. The codifying takes place about every six months.
• heard from City Superintendent Floyd Allsop that talks have begun to extend the westside walk/bike trail to the site of city's future recreational site.