Wright County preparing to update website

By John Holler

Contributing Writer

Anyone who has seen the Wright County website has immediately noticed that it is essentially the same format that it was when Wright County first went on-line more than 15 years ago. Anyone attempting to find a service or information from the website has often been frustrated. At the Nov. 5 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, the process of changing that took a big step forward.

Information Technology Director Bill Swing came before the board to present the bids from three vendors that were finalists for the website redesign. The board approved the proposal from CivicPlus, a company with experience working with many counties and cities throughout the country, including St. Paul, St. Cloud and Anoka, Washington, Blue Earth and Crow Wing counties in Minnesota.

“Our evaluation team screened six responses for our proposal and narrowed it down to three,” Swing said. “Specifications had been sent out to 29 vendors and we got some very strong responses.”

With pushed CivicPlus over the top was due to its experience with county and city websites, its strong track record of performance and its willingness to make updates and changes to the design of the website as needed in the future.

“After all was said and done, we approved going into negotiations with CivicPlus. There were several factors involved, but of their many positives, having an imprint in Minnesota with similar counties and cities of our size was an important factor.”

The expectation is to have the new website design ready to roll out early next year.

“It can’t come soon enough,” Commissioner Mark Daleiden said. “We’ve wanted to update our technology and have a website that is actually user-friendly was part of that process. It’s frustrating to find anything on the current website and I think people will be surprised to see how much improved the new site will be.”

In other items on the Nov. 5 agenda, the board:

NAMED Lee Kelly as the county coordinator. Kelly, who had been special projects administrator for the county, served as interim county coordinator following the retirement of Dick Norman earlier this year. In a related item, referred the position of special projects administrator to the personnel committee to initiate the recruitment process for the position.

REFERRED discussion of employees bringing their own electronic devices to work to the technology committee. Interest in such a policy has been presented to the county by several departments.

APPROVED a memo of understanding with the cities of Cokato, Albertville and Waverly, as well as French Lake Township and Cokato Township for the purchase and storage and salt and sand for the 2013-14 snow/ice control season.

SET a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. at the Dec. 3 board meeting to discuss proposed changes to the county fees-for-service schedule.

Approved a repair request to County Ditch 34 from the City of Delano. The city is in the process of developing an industrial park and, as part of that process in 2011, provided $20,000 for upgrades to the ditch system. It is expected those funds will be used to make the requested repair.

AUTHORIZED signatures on a natural resources block grant in the amount of $105,465. The agreement is between the county and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

NAMED Lee Kelly as the county’s voting delegate and Commissioner Mike Potter as the alternate at the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust annual meeting in December.

APPROVED an Emergency Management Performance Grant for $59,374 with the Department of Homeland Security. The grant amount is the highest the county has ever received.

SET the policy for Christmas eve at the county courthouse. The courthouse will be open Tuesday, Dec. 24, but will close at noon.

APPROVED the list of 2014 ditch assessments. As part of the listing, for those assessments that will take more than one year to repay, the board approved an interest rate of 2.33 percent per state statute.

AUTHORIZED obtaining price quotes for a boundary fence between a county park near Hasty and the property of an adjacent landowner. Under the 100-year old laws that govern such matters, when a fence between properties is erected, both sides pay half the cost of building the fence.

APPROVED a 2014-15 contract between the City of Montrose and the sheriff’s department. The contract calls for 2,020 contract hours of patrol services in both years of the contract.