NORTH OGDEN -- City officials have unveiled plans for an updated website to help residents be better informed and to also put the city more in touch with the times.
City Manager Ron Chandler, along with Tiffany Staheli, who will take over as the community services director this month, gave a detailed overview of the site at a recent city council meeting.
Chandler said when the council requested the city revamp its site, officials decided to get in touch with younger employees who were more in tune with new technology and media to help update the site. He said he was impressed with what they had to offer.
One thing missing from the revamped site is the ability to put elected officials' emails on the site, which has been discussed frequently the last year to help maintain transparency with constituents. The council decided against that notion after discussing it at a work session in October. Chandler pointed out possible problems with posting the emails, including the labor involved on making redactions of such content as personal or legal information.
Councilman Kent Bailey suggested just having a forum for discussion on the site rather than sharing emails. Included on the site will be topics where residents can express their opinion on a subject by clicking "agree" or "disagree."
Chandler said they decided to not offer a comment section. "We do not want a citizens' forum for people to vent," Chandler said.
People will be able to email elected officials straight from the site, something that cannot be done now, and also should be able to search out topics on the site. Chandler said that having a forum set up gives residents a chance to see what is happening in the city because so few attend city council meetings.
Bailey expressed concern about residents being able to email directly from the site because he doesn't want to receive inappropriate information.
"Can we validate the information? I'm worried about getting junk," he said. Chandler thinks the filter system will work well so that doesn't happen.
Staheli said the city will also be more active with a Facebook page, where officials can reach people quickly, and also use Twitter, but on a more limited basis. Chandler said the plus side of a Twitter account is that media outlets can see the information quickly.
The city is also looking at developing a smart phone application where residents can contact the city if a light is out or with other issues, but that is a future goal.
Officials hope to get the website updated very soon and would like to hire a programmer to expedite the work.