PORTSMOUTH — Town Council President James Seveney said every once in a while, a resident requests an e-mail or a phone call whenever an item of interest to them is placed on an upcoming meeting agenda. Honoring such a wish just wasn’t feasible, he said.
Until now, that is. With the Town of Portsmouth’s new website, getting such a notification will be a piece of cake, according to Barbara Ripa, the town’s administrative secretary.
The new site, a product of CivicPlus, a Kansas-based company that serves over 1,600 government websites, went live Friday with a “soft opening,” joked Ms. Ripa.
The website is an improvement over the old one in that it features more interaction with residents, she said. “We’ll be able to post forms on there and we can track things such as when somebody sees a pothole, they’ll be able to report that right through the website,” Ms. Ripa said.
Residents will also be able to sign up for alerts. “It’s got an item called ‘Notify Me’ where you can go in and put your e-mail address in and then you can check off little boxes of what you want to be notified about — agendas coming out, news flashes and things of that nature. Even today (Monday), the Police Department put out an alert that there was a parking ban; you can be notified of that,” she said.
The town will also be posting agendas of upcoming meetings, “probably not of all the minor boards, but of all the major boards,” she said. “We will be getting more into it and be able to utilize it more fully.”
Residents will notice improvements and new features on the site in the coming weeks, said Town Administrator John Klimm.
“You’ll see a major change very soon with the initiation of the electronic agendas,” he said, noting that residents will be able to access upcoming meeting agendas and “every piece of backup material” from the comfort of their homes.
The website can be updated in simple fashion by municipal workers, Mr. Klimm said. “It’s a much easier website for staff, especially non-IT staff,” he said.
Although the town didn’t formally announce the website’s launch, Mr. Klimm said he’s already received some informal reviews. “I’ve gotten four or five citizens’ e-mails or calls that they really like it, so we’re getting some good feedback,” he said.