The Washington City Council entered into a new contract with a local IT firm to include the building and maintenance of a new city website.
The council Monday approved an ordinance repealing an agreement with WashPC LLC and then accepting a new proposal from the business. The council voted 6-0 to approve the ordinance. Council members Gretchen Pettet and Mark Hidritch were not at the meeting.
In March, the council agreed to contract IT services with WashPC for the entire city with a goal to eliminate bottlenecks in the previous system.
The city began working with WashPC in May 2016 to address a decrease in staffing in the IT department.
Under that contract, WashPC provided 100 hours per month for support of projects, consultation, and overall needs of the IT department and city at the monthly cost of $9,000.
The new contract includes a monthly cost of $9,000 in addition to a fee of $550 for work on the new city website at Washmo.gov. The website is being built on WordPress and the fees include premium plug-ins, hosting and management, and payment portal system.
“This allows the city to move forward with the new website,” City Administrator Darren Lamb said to the council.
The city is under contract with WashPC for one year for website services. After that, the city must give 60 days’ notice to terminate the contract.
He added the new contract separates the IT services and website construction, and maintenance fees.
According to Lamb, the site could be up and running by the end of November,
Lamb stated the new website will focus on customer service.
It will include forms and permits that typically would require residents or customers to obtain in person at city offices.
The more user-friendly site also would allow people to rent park facilities online and conduct other business with the city.
“The goal is to have those things available online that now require people to visit city offices,” he said.
The city had received two other bids, including one from an out-of-state company that proposed $24,000 for the website construction.
Lamb explained WashPC representatives sat in on the proposal meetings between the website companies and city staff to provide support. It was determined that WashPC could provide similar, or better, services for less money.
“We went through the bid process and looked at different vendors, and we really didn’t feel that comfortable with those,” Lamb told The Missourian.
“On the flip side, we will have somebody local that already is working with the city.”