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New website for Clarkston

City Clerk/Treasurer Jan Gillespie using the websites. Photo by Trevor keiser (click for larger version)
August 04, 2010 - After working with various interim website pages through volunteers for the past few years, the City of the Village of Clarkston finally has a website it's proud of.

"The project had shifted and there was some work going on with some other volunteers," said City Councilman Stephen Hargis. "I worked with that for awhile, but then decided to get what we needed for the city website, I needed to actually get some commercial bids."

Hargis was handed the project after taking the vacant seat of former Councilman Cory Johnston.

"The space I took was the person who had been working on this area before, so it would seem logical I would continue on working on some of those same projects," he said. "I had some discussion with the mayor as far as what different committees I might be involved with. This made the most sense and had the most interest to me too. I like the technological aspect of the whole thing."

After doing some research looking at various municipal websites from other communities, as well as getting opinions as to what people liked and disliked, Hargis said he came up with a bid package. They sent out seven bids, mostly to local companies, but a few were out of state

"The only reason we went to those was because some of these other web designers focus on municipal websites. Other cities and communities around have used some of these outside, further away companies," he said. "There was one as far away as Kansas that does a lot of municipal websites."

After receiving the bids and comparing pros and cons, as well as cost, they decided on local company "Complete Web and Software Solutions" located in Washington Mills Mall. Cost was $3,970, with $325 per year hosting charge.

"Once we awarded the contract then the work picked up rather quickly," Hargis said. "We got together the framework of the website and started filling forms, maps, and city documents like code of ordinances, master plan and things like that, so if people wanted to read into those documents further, they are there now to look at."

The website also lists board, commission, and council members along with their e-mail addresses, as well as links to other websites locally and statewide. Hargis said the web designers also put in a system to track how many hits the website receives. One of the things he was most happy about was agendas and minutes would be posted on the site too.

"People can access that information, see what all is going on at City Hall if they're interested," Hargis said. "They can come to the City Hall meetings and they'll be armed with the information as it's being developed."

As far as the name villageofclarkston.org, Hargis said it was chosen by City Council, to "emphasize the brand of the village."

"We're a village and we're also a city, we wanted to emphasize the village aspect of it," he said. "Having the city of the village of Clarkston seemed a bit long so we settled on village of clarkston."

Hargis said he looks forward to interacting with the site more and watching it go from the "walking to running."

"It's been a good experience, quite a bit of work involved, but I feel like it's paying off,' he said. "I think it's going to be a good thing for the community."

City Manger Dennis Ritter agreed.

"Steve's done an outstanding job putting this website together. He's accomplished more in the last four to five months than the effort that had been put forth five years prior to this," Ritter said.

"I am very thankful this is going to be a very important means of communicating the identity that Clarkston wants to portray and does portray in its day to day activities."

For more information check out www.villageofclarkston.org

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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