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 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. So what kind of content should be displayed on the official town website? The following five categories are a good place to start.
It’s important for elected officials and their staff to share the discourse and outcome of regularly-scheduled meetings, since these will have an effect on local citizens. 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 a vital way to provide a transparent local government system.
From signup sheets for the local Harvest Festival volunteer team, downloadable fireworks permits, dog licenses, driveway permits, building applications, and more are the things that community members need access to. When these forms and permit applications are available through the town website, it becomes possible for citizens to find, print and fill out the relevant paperwork without phoning you or coming directly into the office. This is a huge time saver to both office staff and community members alike. Make it possible to apply for permits via the website itself, and you’re onto yet another great time saver!
A database of current ordinances and city resolutions should be made available online for ease of access. Citizens and town staff must both be able to search and find specific local laws that pertain to daily life. In addition, it is important for resolutions to be prominently displayed for the entire local population so that everyone clearly understands the platform of his or her community. This information is also very important and valuable for tourists to the area.
The town calendar should display community and council meetings, but also fun events like downtown Halloween parties or parades. While it isn’t necessary to post events for every local family or business, sometimes doing so is helpful to foster community spirit and a sense of camaraderie between locals. Events are also a great way to bolster the local economy. Filling out the calendar and seeing big bare patches should be a wake-up call to city staff that perhaps some entertainment or planning is in order. Consider organizing a weekly farmer’s market, or sponsoring monthly plays from the community theater.
Residents both old and new need help finding contact information sometimes, particularly when setting up a new home. You should compile a list of available electrical companies, water providers, plumbers, cable companies, and television and internet providers. If any of these are provided specifically through the town, explain that to your readers and let them know how to set up each account. Try to list all useful contacts for homeowners, including large-garbage pick-up and recycling facilities.Building an online presence will not only help your office to save time and resources, but it could also help you to become paperless. Remember to keep all information updated regularly and make sure the community knows you’ve gone online!Image from Picography