July 8, 2024

Types of Content for Your Municipal Website

Creating a town website is an essential part of reaching out to the community. Your goal should be to create a one-stop directory of relevant local information so that citizens won’t need to call the office every time they have a basic question about local ordinances or garbage pickup.

Creating a town website is an essential part of reaching out to the community. Your goal should be to create a one-stop government content management system of relevant local information so that residents won’t need to call the office every time they have a basic question about local ordinances or garbage pickup. 

What kind of content should be displayed on the official town website? Let’s unpack the following categories that offer a good place to start.

1. Meeting Minutes & Agendas

It’s important for elected officials and their staff to share the outcome of regularly-scheduled meetings since these will have an effect on local residents. Often, community members simply want to be kept in the loop without having to attend the meeting itself, so this is both a good way to keep online records and share information. 

Town agendas, agenda packets, and meeting minutes are vital to a transparent government content management system. This transparency builds trust within the community and allows residents to stay informed about decisions that impact their daily lives.

Additionally, providing searchable databases of past meeting documents can be helpful for residents conducting research or to track the progress of specific issues over time.

2. Forms & Permits

From signup sheets for the local festival volunteer team to downloadable fireworks permits, dog licenses, driveway permits, and building applications, community members need access to various forms and permits. 

Making these forms available through the town website allows residents to be compliant without phoning or coming directly into the office. This is a huge time saver for both office staff and community members alike.

Furthermore, enabling online submissions for these permits can streamline processes and improve efficiency. For example, integrating e-signatures and online payments into the form or application makes it easier for residents to complete necessary procedures from the comfort of their homes, 24/7, without needing to talk to the town hall first. 

3. Ordinances & Resolutions

A database of current ordinances and municipal resolutions should be made available online as part of the government content management system. Both residents and town staff must be able to search and find specific local laws that pertain to daily life. It is also important for resolutions to be prominently displayed for the entire local community. This helps residents understand their community and how it functions. 

This information can be helpful for tourists as well: to help them navigate local regulations and customs while visiting. An intuitive, searchable database can also support legal transparency and promote community engagement. 

Including summaries or explanations of complex ordinances can make this information more digestible to the general public. And, ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities within the municipality. 

4. Calendar of Events

The town calendar should display community and council meetings, as well as communal events like Halloween parties, parades, festivals and barbecues. This helps foster community spirit and a sense of camaraderie among locals. 

Events play an important role in building the local economy by attracting visitors and encouraging residents to participate in communal activities. The calendar can feature a variety of activities, from sports leagues and cultural festivals to public forums and volunteer opportunities. 

Including detailed event descriptions, locations, and contact information can make it easier for residents to get involved. Regular updates and reminders about upcoming events, on the government content management system, can help keep the community informed and engaged. 

5. Town Contacts

Residents, both new and long-term, often need help finding contact information, especially when setting up a new home. A comprehensive list of essential contacts, such as municipal contacts, electrical companies, water providers, plumbers, cable companies, and internet providers, should be easily accessible on the municipal website. 

If any services are provided specifically through the town, explain this to your residents. Including emergency contacts, local health services, and community support organizations can also be beneficial. Providing this information helps new residents settle in easier and supports the needs of existing residents. 

6. Community Resources and Services

Expanding the website to include a section dedicated to community resources and services can be incredibly valuable. This can cover everything from local libraries, parks, and recreational facilities to social services like food banks, shelters, and counseling centers. 

Providing detailed information about these resources, including hours of operation, services offered, and contact details, can help residents take full advantage of what the community has to offer. Having access to community programs, workshops, and educational opportunities can also encourage participation and build a stronger, more connected community.

7. News and Announcements

Keeping the community informed about important news and announcements is crucial. This section can include updates like 

As well as other critical information. Regularly updating this section ensures that residents have access to current and updated information at all times.

Providing a newsletter signup option can help keep residents in the loop with regular email updates.

8. Online Services and Payments

In the digital age, offering online services and payment options is essential for convenience and efficiency. Digital tools can include online bill payment for utilities, property taxes, short term rentals, licenses and permits and facility rentals. 

Providing a secure and user-friendly platform for these transactions can significantly enhance the residents experience. Additionally, offering services like online appointment scheduling for town services or facility rental bookings can further streamline operations and improve accessibility for residents.

Building an online presence will not only help your office to save time and resources, but it could also help you become paperless. Digital tools automatically keep records, which means one less record that needs to be updated: municipal staff can download the payment records or facility bookings for a specific period. 

Keeping all information updated regularly is key. Communicate the shift towards digital communication to the community. Leveraging social media and email newsletters to announce updates and new features on the website may help with community engagement. 

Ultimately, a well-designed municipal website serves as a government content management system for information, services, and community engagement, promoting a more connected and informed neighborhood.

Town Web services are approved for use with ARPA funds!