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Newton website to get makeover

COVINGTON - Newton County's website will be getting a makeover.

County commissioners approved Tuesday night a contract with Vision Internet Providers Inc. out of Santa Monica, Calif., to upgrade the website, at a cost of $19,975, plus an annual maintenance fee of $6,000.

Although the county won a contest with a different company, CivicPlus, for a free website makeover, offered to the worst government websites across the country, commissioners opted not to contract with them, because of hefty fees that would kick in after two years and because they provide a template design while Vision Internet can customize the website. A committee including Commissioners Lanier Sims and Nancy Schulz heard a presentation from three providers and determined Vision Internet was the superior product.

County Manager John Middleton noted that the website is difficult to use.

"I did not really think we had one of the top 10 worst sites in the United States, but apparently we did," Middleton said, referring to the contest. Middleton said that a drawback to the free makeover from CivicPlus is that the contract would have to be accepted as is and could not be modified.

Sims, who owns and operates a digital marketing company that designs websites, said CivicPlus would not provide a lot of room to expand in the future. In contrast, Vision Internet will customize the site to the county's liking, allow for upgrades in the future, including a free redesign after four years of use.

"When anybody is thinking about Newton County the first thing they do is Google us -- that first impression goes a long way," he said.

The county will also have the capability to send email blasts and texts to notify citizens of emergency situations and other information.

Sims said the website will be a means of engaging and educating citizens.

"It's hard to communicate with the citizens of this county. We have no one way of communicating. Everybody doesn't get the same utility bill, everybody doesn't get the same cable," he noted.

In addition to being more user-friendly for citizens, the website could provide branding to attract economic development, said Schulz, who has been pushing for a website upgrade since 2009.

The county has $38,000 already set aside for a website upgrade. The project is expected to take between four and six months to complete.

Comments

dennistay53 1 year, 5 months ago

Man, i wish they cared as much about getting jobs into the county lowering unemployment as they did about stuff like this.

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henrystamm 1 year, 5 months ago

I use the present web site now for years and have no problem with it, and I am no genius in the computer usage. Who are the jokers that determine the value of the site. Every time someone says or claims this, especially government officials, the proposal turns out to be worth and the geniuses we have elected are no exception. The only problem with the site is the government none or misinformation. Remember Garbage in Garbage out. That is the government in our now competing to be a third rate country.

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Neuhierl 1 year, 5 months ago

Looks like good news. This site could be of great benefit to the community. I look forward to up to date information also being posted on this new site. Good Work!

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Newtownqq 1 year, 5 months ago

Dennistay53, Henrystamm, do either of you have any kinda of solution to what problems you say are happening? It seems as if you both have answers to everything that is going on in this county. If you both feel that things are not working out here maybe you both need to run for some type of office. But I tend to say what jobs has the Chamber created nothing more than fast food! That is one point I agree with!

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dennistay53 1 year, 5 months ago

@Newtonqq- I have ran before and do have plans to run again. First thing to get jobs i would be looking at what is going on in Oconee County. 5.2% unemployment, lowest in the state is a good model tolook at. 2nd as a county commission i would take more hands on in going after jobs and not depend totally on the chamber of commerce. 3rd - better schools and lower tax brings jobs. I could go on and on.

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Newtownqq 1 year, 5 months ago

@Denistay53 I urge you to run because its the only way to truly change things. You must look at a few key facts about Oconee County before you compare Newton to them. There population is fewer than Newton. As of 2011 its population was just at 33,000 compared to our 99,000. This is a key fact to look at when you look at unemployment. You also must look into the social economic factors at play Such as ; Race, Debt to incorme , real property values. These are just some small things that come into play. If you are gonna run you need to realize that comparing us to Oconnee is like comparing Newtown to Cobb. We all face different problems, to make an accurate comparison you need to find a county that has around 85,000 people and start from there. How are you gonna get better schools? It seems we build one here every 3-4 years? Thats not working and a deficit will be comming in 2 years for the school system. Maybe this is because of the low tax rates and breaks that WE OWE BAXTER as said by John Douglass. Bringing industy through tax breaks does not always pan out. I am not trying to pick any kind of fights with you an sometimes I feel we do agree on some things. You seem to be very concerned about things and I do feel that is a good thing. Far to much do people complain about politicians and high taxes, but when you ask if the vote most often its a big NO!

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dennistay53 1 year, 5 months ago

@Newtownqq- Following counties larger than Newton with lower unemployment, better school ratings, lower school millage rates----Columbia, Coweta, Paulding,Forsyth, Gwinnette, Cherokee, Cobb, Henry, Houston. If you have lived here awhile you will know that for awhile Newton was sold by the County commission as a bedroom community, then as a farming community. Newton can't excell by being labeled and sold as either of these type counties. We need to go after manufacturing as well as doing a better job at quality of life for it's citizens. I don't drink alcohol for awhile now, but to get good dining facilities you have to let alcohol by the drink go everywhere in the county and not just in the overlays. You have to get school mills down off the cap and performance up. You have to get crime down. The county commission has to go after getting jobs here themselves and not depend on others to do it for them. We have got to quit longterm bonding and borrowing that pushes the county deeper into long term debt.

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Newtownqq 1 year, 5 months ago

@Dennistay I agree with what you are saying about those counties that are larger and doing better than us. Why? We need to look at what they are doing and react. It seems that to get crime down you need to support your law officers and Brown. But the BOC does not do anything but cut his budget. If you want to curb spending look at the county attorney. Well look what they Repbulican John Douglass and Maddox have done, they borrowed $21 million for the Dam and another $7 million for waste water plant. All at the same time when they are failing to complete projects promised in the last SPLOST. If we cant bond any SPLOST project why are we taking on loans to other projects?

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henrystamm 1 year, 5 months ago

Goes anyone of you even know why we have so many deficiencies? No of course. While some of the surrounding counties instituted real suburban communities the newton crooked officials gave in to the local large property owners and developers and created the disastrous situation. Good luck to change that now. I always say you get what you vote for.

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