By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
KURE BEACH - The Town of Kure Beach is pulling out all the fiscal stops when it comes to paying for a new online presence. On March 20, the Town Council approved spending $16,200 for a new website with additional features and improved visual appeal.
Town Clerk Nancy Avery explained, "Our website... is a decent website and has always worked well but its in an older language that is very hard to update."
Avery said there's one person on staff that is trained to update the site but, "In emergencies, or if that person is out, we are pretty much stuck."
She said the new site will use a content management system (CMS) which, "Gives us much more ability to maneuver our data and control our data. We can expand the website without additional cost. We can design our pages. The police chief is interested in this because each department can have its own look, but you can still tell its part of the Town. There are a lot of things we would like to do on the website and a lot more information but we are very restricted."
She explained, "$16,000 is a lot of money I know, but compared to some of the other quotes we received I feel this is a good deal. Its very simple software" and averaging the cost over five years it's worth the money.
She said there will also be a monthly fee of $81.
The company contracted to do the work is VC3. They currently serve as the Town's service for email and home to the Town's existing website at www.townofkurebeach.org
Council member Emilie Swearingen said the issue was discussed last year and, "Now it's costing double what we talked about last year, why?"
Avery said last year they looked at another service which turned out to be too restrictive costing more to add additional pages and information.
Councilman David Heglar said, "I know it's a lot of money but I think it’s a great communication tool for the Town. Also, you can set up so you automatically get emails and any updates that happen" and people can signup for alerts.
He said, "The only thing I didn't like that was missing was e-pay" where people can pay bills online.
Avery said they can implement a system and are talking to banks for options.
Avery said it would reduce workload and allow department heads to update the site without having to utilize and depend upon one single employee to post updates. Also, the site can be updated from the office or from remote locations.
The Council voted unanimously to approve of the $16,200 contract including the $81 per month fee with VC3 for the new website.
No time frame was given during the meeting for completion of the project.
Currently an employee creates individual pages within the Town's website and maintains updates when needed. A Content Management System removes the need for designing individual pages and uses a template system to display information within the website.
Individual employees can be assigned as users and login to update pages in the site either in the office or remotely at home or from a laptop at any location.
Updates can be as simple as typing information into a form and uploading relevant photos or documents.
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