New website should boost village communication
System allows daily updates, give alerts to residents
Germantown - A new village of Germantown website will go live in June, making it easier for residents to communicate with village officials.
The Germantown Village Board on Monday was given a design update of the website that is set to launch June 20. The village contracted with CivicPlus to overhaul the website, making it easier to navigate while providing tools for residents to communicate with trustees and administration.
First, the website will allow for departments to update news and events on a daily basis, something lacking in the current site www.village.germantown.wi.us.
The site, though in its initial design phases, will have a "Notify Me" tab, where residents can log in as a user and select a department they want to receive email updates from, said Interim Park and Recreation Director Joe Masiarchin. For example, if the Germantown Police Department chooses to use this function, residents could sign up to have crime alerts sent to them via text message or email.
A second feature to boost communication is a "report a concern" link. Residents can use their same login information and then notify specific village departments or trustees of issues they may have. For example, if there is a street with a large pothole, residents can simply logon and notify the village.
"It opens things up for staff to be able to communicate better with the public, puts it in a nice, tidy frame so it's easier to manage," Masiarchin said.
Trustee Terri Kaminski asked if this system allows them a reasonable time to respond to concerns.
Village Attorney Brian Sajdak said the website would be no different from trustees being notified to a problem via their email or phone, the current system in place.
"Most of the alderman and trustees that I have the experience with like (this feature) because they get that notice of what is going on instead of getting blindsided by it," he said. "You then get that initial communication if there is a concern, so it is nice. There are concerns that exist with it - not necessarily liability - but we may want to look at setting some sort of policy of how those complaints are responded to and handled."
Masiarchin said the benefit to the new website is that village staff has the power to change its features.
"The benefit to it if it's cumbersome, we can remove it," he said. "If we don't like it, it can go away."
The board has until April 5 to approve the design of the website. Staff will be trained how to use the website in mid-June, before the village gives final approval to go live.
APRIL 5: design approval due to CivicPlus
MAY 10: website content due
JUNE 10-14: staff training
JUNE 18: project sign-off
JUNE 20: go live
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