December 31, 2013

Farmington launches new town website, sticks to budget

The new website posts agendas, minutes, community calender and will eventually allow residents to pay bills online.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — Residents can now access more town information online through a polished municipal website.

Town Manager Richard Davis said the project stuck to the $10,700 budget with a Washington-based contractor, Vitasys.

The new website now has more information posted and is compatible with online bill pay, which the town hopes to eventually set up.

“So far, I’ve heard some good comments,” Davis said. “It’s still a bit of a work in progress. We’re still learning to edit and add new content.”

The proposal from Vitasys was the third cheapest of eight bids that ranged from $4,000 to $53,000. Selectmen said at the time that they agreed to the bid because of the comprehensive site design, the technical training offered and the open-source software allowed the town to save money over time by performing its own maintenance and upgrades.

He said town planning assistant Cindy Galinas put in extra time over the past few months, coordinating the effort between the company and the town’s website committee.

The website, which launched in mid-December, includes agendas and minutes from bi-monthly Board of Selectmen meetings and an events calendar. Users can browse through information and photos of town officials, including short biographies of police officers and selectmen.

There are also options for applying for jobs, licenses, volunteer opportunities and burn permits.

“It’s more interactive between the user and the website,” Davis said.

He said the old website also had incomplete information detailing town functions. “We didn’t have any information about public works or parks and recreation,” he said.

Davis said he anticipates one of the more useful new features is access to town documents from home.

“For people who would be interested in our ordinances and policies, they are available so they can check what the legal requirements are,” he said.

Along with the additional features, Davis said the town is pleased that content can easily be added through the open source software.

“It has more functionality,” he said. “Our old site was a home-built site that was added on to over the years. It wasn’t really functional.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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