After learning that the city will not see a new website until the spring of 2018, one alderman called for updates to the current site to provide timely information on city meetings.
Alderman Carol Johnson, acting president of the board, told The Missourian that she had met with City Administrator Steve Roth and City Clerk Kim Barfield Oct. 4 to discuss a system of posting timely information on the existing site until the new webpage comes online.
“This is information the public needs,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she called for the meeting after receiving an email message sent to all six aldermen asking whether a temporary posting system could be put in place for the five or six months leading up to the new webpage.
The activity followed Roth’s report Oct. 3 that he expected to begin work on construction of the new website in October and hopefully be ready to go live by early spring at the latest.
The current site has been outdated for months, for years on some information posted there.
The last city newsletter “Pacific Update” available on the site is dated February 2014.
Prior to Johnson’s request, the last board of aldermen meeting posted was Aug. 15. The last public hearing notice is dated June 28, 2016.
Aldermanic committees, park board and tourism commission meetings were last posted in 2016.
Johnson said she understood the delay on constructing a new website.
“They (city staff) have been working on the budget and with property owners affected by the flood so the website was put off,” Johnson said. “But I asked them to come up with something temporary. We have the website, we need to use it until a new one is done.”
On Friday, Oct. 6, board of aldermen meeting agendas for September and October were posted.
Johnson said Roth and Barfield have been working with auditors, but other updates would be posted.
Aldermen authorized Roth to begin work to construct a new website in September 2016 by publishing a request for qualifications for a person or firm to build a new state-of-the-art website.
Aldermen said they wanted the new site to include not only current meeting information, but online bill pay, permit applications and information on the visitor venues that border Pacific.
Alderman Mike Pigg, who serves as aldermanic liaison to the tourism commission, asked the commission in December to help pay for a new website that would enable the city to attract tourists and provide them with information on the city and surrounding area. The commission favored using tourism funds for a new page.
Cost to upgrade the webpage is approximately $25,000 as a one-time fee and $3,000 in annual management fees, Roth said.
The recently approved budget includes a line item for a tech/website of $20,000. The tourism commission budget included $10,000 for a new webpage.
Roth said one element that would enable a new website to remain current was to create a page that the city staff could update and not rely on an outside firm to post information provided by the staff.
In April, Roth reported that he had received 12 proposals from tech firms, which he and a five-member committee of city staffers and tourism commission had evaluated. The group sent its two top choices to the operations committee.
The three-member committee, including Carol Johnson, chair, Nick Chlebowski and Mike Pigg, voted to recommend Civic Plus as the city’s webpage builder and provider.
On May 1 aldermen approved the selection of Civic Plus as the provider of a new webpage but no progress has been made on constructing the webpage.
Roth said work on other city business, including the budget, flood and sinkhole, had occupied his time but he expects to begin work on the website this month.