City council waits on approving new website

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

For a while, it appeared the city would be getting a new website, despite a lack of thorough discussion.

Then one comment changed that.

Near the end of the April 21 Keizer City Council meeting, councilors discussed a proposed new website and the contract for such service.

While the need for a new website had been discussed for quite some time – it was rated as one of the council’s top priorities last year and was budgeted for this fiscal year – the actual agreement wasn’t signed until the morning of April 21. Thus, councilors had little chance to look over the 70-page document before the meeting.

Since the item wasn’t on the agenda, a vote had to be taken to suspend the normal rules and discuss passage. Councilor Dennis Koho and mayor pro-tem Joe Egli (mayor Lore Christopher was out of town) objected, but the motion passed 4-2.

As discussion continued, Koho explained his stance.

“I’ll be voting no unless we table it,” Koho said. “I just got it today and haven’t had a chance to read it. I can’t in good faith vote for something when I haven’t had a chance to read it. That’s why I voted to not suspend the rules. I’m not sure how many of us have read the whole 70 pages.”

Egli noted that was his reason as well.

“I’m the exact same way,” Egli said. “I just saw the e-mail at 5 p.m.”

Bill Hopkins, the city’s information technology person, was on hand to explain the benefits of the proposed new website. His recommendation was to go with Delaware-based EVO Government Websites, with a fixed initial cost of $15,800.

City Manager Chris Eppley noted the uneasiness expressed by Koho and Egli.

“It would benefit councilors to delay the vote,” Eppley told Hopkins. “Is two weeks feasible?”

“It’s been a year already,” Hopkins replied. “So delaying two weeks won’t be critical.”

Koho liked the sound of that and moved to postpone consideration until the May 5 council meeting. That motion was approved unanimously.

Before that decision was made, Hopkins noted the city had gotten six responses to a Request for Proposals. The city’s current website has been criticized for being clunky and difficult to update.

“This gives Keizer citizens a more up-to-date website and it gives them more updated information,” Hopkins said.

Eppley emphasized the need for a new website.

“This was a short-term council goal,” he said. “One thing was to be able to do e-commerce. That’s all worked into this. Also, a website more and more is how people find you. Ours is woefully inadequate and outdated. It’s difficult to maintain. This one will be much easier to maintain.”

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