CLINTON — The Clinton County Information Technology Department is hoping to have a new and updated county website available in a few months.

County Information Technology Director Betsy Smith met with the Board of Supervisors recently to discuss the progress on an update to the county website. After a previously formed web committee did not go anywhere, Smith said she plans on having Twin State Technical rebuild the website for approximately $10,000, after which the county can also make upgrades to the site.

“What we will end up with is a blank website from them using the same content manager with some enhancements and we will add the content,” Smith said. “Paul and my department will add the content to that website. They tell me they can have this done by the end of June so they’re going to get started right away on it and be done by the end of June for us.”

Smith said the main reason she is recommending Twin State Technical is the experience it has with the county website. The company helped build the site in 2009 and Smith thinks the familiarity with the site will help. They will build the new website in the same format so its format will be similar to the current site. According to Smith, one of the biggest differences in the sites will be for people wanting to use it on their mobile phone.

“The reason I went ahead with Twin State, quite honestly, they know our website,” Smith said. “It’s going to be quick and easy for them to put this together for us. This will give us a mobile website. It will be responsive so instead of a tiny website when you bring it up on a smartphone it will be a mobile website. That will all be included in this.”

As for the cost, Smith says most of the cost will be covered by using the money that would have been used for Twin State’s twice-a-month visits in May and June. She says whatever is not covered in this cost will be covered by the money left in this year’s budget.

“We have a consultant who comes in from Twin State a couple of times a month, just kind of goes over things with us,” Smith said. “We discuss things we want to do and things like that. He will not be coming in May or in June. We are going to use the money that we normally pay him to pay for most of this. So that’s where a lot of this money is going to come from. And then I have a few dollars left in my budget for this fiscal year that will cover this amount.”

The board expressed support for the new website. Chairman John Staszewski said the website “needs refreshing,” while Vice Chairman Dan Srp said, “I think the improvements are appropriate.”

Smith also told the Board she would like to have county residents submit photos for use on the new website. She explained they had run a collage of the trolley and a few photos from the city of Clinton but would like to get better photos from the county.

“I’d like to maybe run a photo contest,” Smith said. “See if the citizens of the county would be interested in providing some pictures of where they live. I think someone who lives out in the Calamus area, Lost Nation, knows what might be interesting out there more than if we were to send someone out to take pictures. There would be some legalities with it. We’d have to check into all of that but it’s something I’d really like to do to maybe get citizens involved in the website.”

Herald Staff Writer John Rohlf can be reached at jrohlf@clintonherald.com.

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