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Scott County plans improvements to Web site

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

BENTON - Scott County's Web site will soon be sporting a new look.

"We're going to make a few changes to the county Web site," said Joel Evans, county developer, during the regular County Commission meeting Tuesday.

Evans said he had consulted with the Web site's vendor, Creative Design Group, regarding a downturn in the site's usage.

"There's just not that much use in the summer, other than the peak in April with the election," Evans said. The usage curve is comparable with those of other Web sites of this type, however.

Evans said commissioners "want the Web site to be a little more dynamic."

The new design will include more community events, pictures and articles from around the county as well as the ability to publish the new content as soon as it is received.

"The changes will really reflect the County Commission's desire to make the Web site an effective tool for marketing the county and for the dissemination of information to the county's residents and beyond," Evans said. "I think it will be a great communication tool for the communities of the county."

To achieve some of the changes, additional software will be needed but is available at a minimal cost using existing grant funds.

Evans said the changes, including "a whole new, fresh look to the opening page of the Web site," should be ready around the first of August.

In other Scott County news:

* Commissioners accepted the low bid of $8,895 from Rotolite of St. Louis for a color map plotter for the county's geographic information system.

Three bids for the plotter were submitted with the highest bid coming in at $9,099.

The plotter will allow the assessor's office to print a wide variety of maps using the GIS.

* The county's Emergency Management has been approved for a $4,000 Homeland Security grant to set up and train Community Emergency Response Teams.

The program will teach lay people to respond to all sorts of disasters so they can assist professional responders in situations where they are overwhelmed such as a major earthquake, according to county officials.

CERT members will be trained to first help their families and then their immediate community until professional responders arrive.

"Now we just need the people," said Joe Burton, Scott County E-911 administrator.

Evans, who is a state-level CERT instructor and has previously served on the state's CERT steering committee, said CERTs have been successfully set up in conjunction with schools, businesses and churches.

* Commissioners met with Burton and Sheriff Rick Walter to fine-tune a bid request packet and discuss the coming move of E-911 dispatching to the Scott County Jail.

Officials agreed to hire a dispatching supervisor but are still working out the details.

The bid, scheduled to be opened at 11 a.m. Aug. 2, includes modular desks for the dispatch workstations; PC-based radio dispatching consoles using radio over IP technology; digital voice logging; three computers and an upgrade to existing E-911 software and equipment.

A target date of Sept. 30 for the equipment to be moved and operational will be included in the bid specifications.

A $72,100 Homeland Security grant will cover about half of the cost of moving and upgrading equipment, according to Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel.

Priggel said he believes the merger of the county E-911 and jail dispatching will provide better service for county residents and will eliminate the duplication of services.

* The sheriff is putting out a request for bids to provide the county jail with medical care. Bids will be opened at 11 a.m. Aug. 18.

Walter said the medical contract will be more cost effective.

While there are companies that specialize in jail medicine, Walter said anybody who can meet the specifications is welcome to bid.