Recognizing that the city website has not kept with the times, the Ceres City Council took action on Monday to approve a $38,439 agreement with CivicPlus to design and implement a new website.
The Manhattan, Kansas firm will charge the city $7,740 per year for maintenance of the website starting in the second year. Currently, the city is spending $16,150 annually on maintenance of its current website.
In his staff report to the council, City Manager Toby Wells said: "As technology has changed and improved, our current website has not been able to keep pace. The website lacks the functionality to adequately address the demands that the current technology and user needs are requiring. The limitations are significantly impacting the way city departments can provide information and engage our customers. Numerous customers have complained about problems finding information and not being able to use the website easily, especially on mobile devices."
The cities of Modesto, Patterson, Oakdale and Riverbank have upgraded their websites with CivicPlus and city leaders there indicate they are satisfied. CivicPlus has assisted more than 2,400 local governments across the nation in reinvigorating and reinventing their websites since 1994.
"I think our website is definitely due for an overhaul," said City Councilwoman Linda Ryno. "My only concern is will we be able to maintain it ... because currently we can't update it."
Wells said the current website can only be updated by the web consultant, a process he called cumbersome. But the new website will be more user-friendly and allow department managers to keep the website updated.
The new website should be rolled out in approximately six months.