City rolls out redesigned website with new features

The city of Starkville recently rolled out its redesigned website. Pictured is the homepage for the new website. (Courtesy)
Logan Kirkland
Staff Writer

The city of Starkville recently updated its website, giving it a new layout, while seeking to provide easier navigation for its users.

City Technology Director Joel Clements said the website redesign was planned for several years. He said five years ago, the city engaged with a company based in Manhattan, Kansas called CivicPlus who specializes in developing websites for municipalities.

Clements said it was time for them to mature the website. He said in their agreement with CivicPlus, after four years they receive a free redesign included in the first agreement.

Clements said although it is just a website, it's important to have a good first impression for those searching the city because it gives the face of your organization.

"We want to put our best face forward when people research Starkville that are thinking about moving here, doing business here," Clements said. "We want to have an attractive website that's also well laid out and easy for them to find information on."

The yearly contract with CivicPlus totals at $4,959. Clements said with the amount of storage needed for e-packets and other large documents like plat maps and the amount of back end traffic, it is a reasonable amount of money.

One feature of the new website is a "robust" search feature. Clements said this means people can search down into specific documents.

"We have probably thousands of PDFs of minutes, e-packets hosted on this website and that search functionality actually drills down into those PDF's," Clements said. "So, if you're looking for something very specific you can find it pretty easily in my opinion."

Clements said he is also excited about the media center, which provides links to their video archive of board meetings, work sessions and other events his department has filmed.

Clements said city job opportunities is another popular feature they have made easier to access. Residents can find the job openings and apply online.

To expand on its reach, the city’s new website has a new feature allowing for automated posting of content on the website to the city’s social media.

"When we submit a news flash through the website, which will appear on the home page, but also automatically gets pushed out to Twitter and Facebook," Clements said. "We are trying to be as transparent as possible and keep the citizens as informed as possible about what their local government is doing."

Other featured options on the website include portals to pay electric bills, court fines and reporting a concern. Reporting a concern can include water leaks, potholes and other complaints.

"There's a ton of functionality, and a lot of ways for the citizens to interact with the government via the website," Clements said. "We identified what the most popular features were and tried to make those as easy to get to as possible."