GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The township website is outdated and needs to change, officials said, especially after the results of a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday placed Galloway 312th out of 540 municipal websites ranked in the state.
“That’s exactly why we have to do something about our website and change that ranking,” Mayor Don Purdy said.
“I think it would be nice, in the near future, to see where we rank after the efforts we put forward on a new website,” Purdy said Wednesday about the poll results.
Those efforts to overhaul the local website have been stagnant over the last several years, Purdy said.
There have been several committees formed under previous leadership, including former township Manager Stephen Bonanni, Purdy said.
Current township Manager Arch Liston said that when he was hired last spring the township was working to redesign the website because it was outdated. “I looked at it, and in meeting the modern demands of websites and what I worked with in other towns, Galloway’s website was deficient,” he said.
It is important for the township to redesign the website in order to meet the requirements of the Governor's Best Standards Checklist for municipalities, Liston said Wednesday.
In February, the township advertised for requests for proposals on work to begin redesigning the website. A committee of township officials, including council members Whitney Ullman, Brian Tyrrell and Jim McElwee, was formed to examine proposals and conduct interviews, Liston said.
Tyrrell said one of the goals township officials have is to lessen the burden caused by OPRA requests coming in to the township.
“One company stood out above the rest that we’ve interviewed, and that web developer is responsible for creating the websites of a few municipalities that are in the top 10 list of the Monmouth University poll,” Tyrrell said.
Liston said 15 proposals were submitted, which were narrowed down to four. Interviews were recently conducted.
“We had interest from people within South Jersey, but we also had interest from some people in Michigan and Massachusetts. We have decided on someone, and we’re focusing on that one and trying to negotiate on some numbers back and forth,” Liston said.
Officials expect to announce who will design the website at the next regular Township Council meeting, Liston said.
The township’s advertisement for proposals asked that the amount not exceed $10,000 for a full-service website.
“For the initial setup it looks like it will be under $3,000 to get it up and running, so there is not initially a lot of cost. There may be some maintenance costs on the back end, depending on how we structure it,” Liston said.
What is necessary in the township’s website is that users have easier accessibility to information, he said.
“For the size of our municipality, our website is very outdated. There is a lot more that can be put on there for the public’s knowledge. We need to put anything we can up there,” Purdy said.
Ordinances and resolutions should be posted on the website for the public to access, along with the township’s code book, Purdy said.
The Monmouth University poll measured municipality website performance for 2012. Towns were scored in three areas: Ease of Use, Content and Citizen Interaction.
Egg Harbor Township was ranked 34th, but it was the only municipality from Atlantic County in the top 100 of the survey.
Galloway Township fell behind in the poll to Atlantic County municipalities including Buena at 172, Hamilton Township at 177, Northfield at 242, Mullica Township at 284 and Absecon at 304.
Atlantic County municipalities lower than Galloway included Margate at 453, Hammonton at 460, Atlantic City at 474 and Folsom at 500.
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