Internet upgrades coming

Project promises to improve 'sad' local Web sites

Christina M. Currie

Logging onto the city of Craig’s Web site, you’ll find Carl Chapman — whose term expired in 2003 — listed as a City Council member. The city code was last updated for the Web site in 2002.

There are some departments that keep their links updated — but they are few.

“It is sad,” City Manager Jim Ferree said.

That should change within the next few months, when the city’s Web site is upgraded through the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council’s Open E-gov project.

GT Alliance has been retained by the YVEDC to upgrade Web sites for the cities of Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Meeker and Rangely and Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.

“We knew this was coming, so we haven’t touched our Web site in a long time,” Ferree said.

He said he originally budgeted money last year to redesign the city’s Web site, but he delayed the appropriation because of the E-gov project.

He anticipates that a new, user- friendly site will be online by June. It will have open source software, making it a matter of cutting and pasting for any city department to update its Web information.

“The good thing about this program is it will be easy to maintain,” Ferree said. “It could be as simple as posting documents we already have.”

He expects the site to contain an updated community calendar, Parks and Recreation Department calendar, capital project status, the city’s code book and budget, and City Council agendas and minutes as well as employment information and registration forms that can be printed off and returned to City Hall.

Phase II — which will have to be paid for by the city — will be online bill paying and will include the ability to electronically submit Parks and Recreation Department registration forms.

Problems residents may have with the Moffat County Web site also will be taken care of as part of the E-gov project, Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.

“Once we get it up and running we’ll be able to keep information updated and the site will be more user friendly.”

County issues are similar to city issues, in having someone trained to upload information. The new software will allow nearly anyone with the correct password to upload new information quickly without having to know anything about programming codes.

Although it will be up to each department to keep its information updated, Mason Siedschlaw, the county’s information technology specialist, will help.

Money left over from a state $1.2 million Beanpole grant will be used to pay for the upgrades.

“It’s taken us since ’97 to get here, but we finally did it,” Raftopoulos said. “Several steps had to be taken first.”

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