Commission OKs new county website

By ED HOWELL
Posted 11/5/19

The Walker County Commission on Monday approved starting the process for a new county website that county officials could more easily managed by county officials. 

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Commission OKs new county website

Posted

The Walker County Commission on Monday approved starting the process for a new county website that county officials could more easily managed by county officials. 

Tim Peek of RyaTech Computer Solutions, who handles IT, hardware and software maintenance support for the commission, made a PowerPoint presentation to the commission Monday. He said County Administrator Robbie Dickerson approached him several months ago about a site that officials could change and update easily. 

He said walkercounty.com has been on a platform called Joomla. "It is even difficult to change a picture," he said, saying one almost always have to have an expert to make changes to it. WordPress is also available to use, but it requires many plug-ins and add-ons, making it difficult to manage. 

"I actually a few years ago started looking at this new web builder that GoDaddy had," Peek said, noting it has been improved consistently since then. "Folks like Robbie can go in and change a picture or upload a video or change the menu or add some text without going through a lot of technical hoops," he said. 

On Sunday night he put together what could resemble a website using some local information and photos and stock photos, although he said that it is not an exact representation of what the county's new website would be. The example was shown on the PowerPoint to prove what can be done. 

He demonstrated how easily to replace items or search for stock photos. "You can do slide shows or videos, or whatever you want," he said. An events page can be added and updated, Peek noted. 

"Three things you have to have to do a web page is time, patience and creativity," he said. "The creativity sometimes takes more than one person." 

Peek said he gave Dickerson a quote on transferring the information and rearranging for setting a new page. The owner of the name "walkercounty.com" has told Dickerson he would be glad to transfer it to the county, he said. Officials are trying to own as much as possible without having to go through third-party people where one loses control, he said.  

Peek said the county could have emails registered to use for county officials, adding that GoDaddy is usually helpful in transferring domain names. 

Peek said, "As far as keeping the site up (maintained), we haven't really talked about that a lot. Robbie wanted something that is easy to do. If she can do it, that would be great." If it is something that would take more time than what she could handle, he would be glad to give a quote for updates and maintenance under guaranteed timeframes. 

He said the work is easy enough that it would take no time to put on the information. However, he said it is easy and that Dickerson would be able to handle it. 

"I know she has a lot on her plate, so I wanted to throw that offer out there," he said. 

Chairman Jerry Bishop said commissioners would have input on what information to put on the website, he said. "I like that. I could just about work that, and I'm computer illiterate," he said. "But until we get it done, I think we need you involved." 

Dickerson agreed Peek was needed until the new site is built. 

Bishop said the current site is not beneficial. Peek agreed, saying the current site "is so difficult that everyone is afraid to change it. Even the guy who built it, you can't hardly get him to do anything." 

Dickerson said she told Peek she didn't want to affect the Revenue and Probate offices so that citizens can continue to pay taxes and fees. 

"And then also, when we are ready, we want to also include the Solid Waste Department to where people can pay the solid waste bill through our website," which will help with traffic through offices, she said. 

Once the site is built and secure, employees could go online to deal with insurance changes  and other needs online. 

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough told commissioners the matter involved "getting up to date" with the service while helping the community.