By Megan Kelley
LAKE ORION — The wait is nearly over for the much needed Village of Lake Orion website redesign.
Last year, the Lake Orion’s village council voted 5-0 to approve a contract with CivicPlus for website services that would significantly upgrade the layout and services the current website provides.
Councilmembers said that the current website was in desperate need of a redesign to provide adequate communication to residents.
Additionally, several members hoped that with the redesign, residents would be able to pay certain bills online.
Since then, village Manager Darwin McClary has informed council on a number of occasions that the website was nearing completion but that upon reviewing the beta version it “needs a lot of work.”
During its special meeting on Jan. 24, the village council voted 6-0 to amend the Statement of Work from CivicPlus for the redesign and upgrade from the Premium package to the Ultimate package.
According to McClary, the Premium package does not allow for certain design options.
“The basic design doesn’t even allow us to do sub-menus and sub-menus are a must for me if we’re going to direct people to the right place within a few seconds. We have to have sub-menus,” McClary said.
Council President Pro-Tem Teresa Rutt, who had seen the beta version of the website, agreed with McClary.
“The basic is very basic, it’s not very attractive either,” Rutt said. “If we are trying to create a space that is more user-friendly for the community, something that you have to dig through multiple clicks is really hard to do.”
The cost of upgrading from the Premium package to the Ultimate package is expected to increase the annual maintenance cost by $1,100.
The original contract with CivicPlus was approved in the amount of $3,450 for design and migration and then $3,105 for hosting the first year and $3,260.25 for year two.
The increased cost will be applied only to the hosting cost, making the cost for the first year $4,205 and $4,550 for the second year.
By Megan Kelley
My favorite line, “Since then, village Manager Darwin McClary has informed council on a number of occasions that the website was nearing completion but that upon reviewing the beta version it “needs a lot of work.”” It is nearing completion but needs a lot of work?
It also seems this is all up the Village Manager with little or no input from the elected council who are supposed to be representing the public. Will this only be what the Village Manager wants the public to know? Add to this that Council meeting agenda and information are prepared by the Village Manager and there is no official policy for how that is done. Attorney billings, and whatever the Village Attorney does, is not known by the Council and can only be known if they wave their attorney-client privilege for information that they cannot see but approve paying for. The list goes on and the council doesn’t appear to care.
For anyone who has used the current Village website, there is no question that it needs improvement. We will all have to patiently wait to find out if the new one will be any better than the old.