The Cassville City Council approved an $11,000 purchase order from Wannenmacher Advertising for website development at its regularly scheduled meeting on July 18.
"This is a carryover item from last year's budget," said Lynette Dilbeck, economic development director. "We had asked the agency in Springfield that developed our logo to create a RFP (request for proposal) for our new website.
"Our current website is a blog site that limits our ability to grow," said Dilbeck. "We are restricted particularly in our bill pay options."
After receiving several bids for website development it was determined that Wannenmacher Advertising's proposal offered the most user-friendly website. The proposed site will also be the easiest for city staff to maintain, said Dilbeck.
"The others would require us to pay them monthly to update the site," said Dilbeck. "Any of will be able to take over this site and take care of it ourselves. The site will also allow our residents to pay their bills online and get more billing information online."
Last year, the council approved Ordinance #1615, which authorized new website development at a cost of $12,000 to $17,000.
"We have gotten that down to between $10,000 and $12,000, which is down around one-third of the cost," said Dilbeck. "I am requesting you approve this purchase order for website development."
The city plans to use $4,000 from the city's economic development marketing budget and $7,000 in UDAG monies to fund the project.
"I don't know if this is a good expense for the city," said Alderman Jeff Parsons. "What will it do for the city besides get our name out there?"
Dilbeck said that website development would allow the city to offer more visitor information on its site. Wannenmacher Advertising has also stated that its services will allow Cassville to appear higher in searches more often, said Dilbeck.
"We have other ideas on what we can put on the website for our residents," said Dilbeck. "People are always interested in how much rain fell the night before. We have several gauges around the city, and we could put that information on the site.
"It is also very important for economic development," said Dilbeck. "People are doing all their research online now. They could base their decisions on how professional our website looks and if the information they need is available there. We could be put on or off a list based on our website."
Alderman Terry Heinz asked if Dilbeck expected any further expenses associated with the website development.
"I don't anticipate any major expenditures," said Dilbeck.
According to Wannenmacher Advertising's proposal, the city's new website will offer a calendar, a pay online process, drop-down content menus, a search bar, a weather widget and a city updates area.
The site will also feature a compliments and complaints page, education resources, codes and ordinances and information on city boards, commissions and committees. Other areas will focus on economic development, employment opportunities and permits and licenses.
Wannenmacher's proposal included up to 150 hours for design, programming, copywriting, search engine optimization and project management. The bid includes up to four hours of training on content management at the Wannenmacher Advertising Company offices.
The council approved the purchase order with a three-to-one vote. Parsons opposed the expenditure.
Dilbeck also provided an update on the DREAM Initiative, which has been expanded to include a larger portion of Cassville's downtown area. The Bayless House, Designs By Debbie and areas along Main Street to Jump Stop and east to Flat Creek have been added to the designated area.
DREAM staff members are working to compile the information from the focus groups held in April. By the end of the year, DREAM should complete the stormwater survey and begin the building and streetscape plan and market study.
"We are very lucky to be partnering with DREAM this year," said Dilbeck. "We have learned that this will be the last year that they select communities to participate. Our funding is secured. A total of 40 cities were selected to participate."
Dilbeck reported that she will be visiting all of the large employers in Cassville to speak with them about the Enhanced Enterprise Zone and tax abatement opportunities. She will also provide information to the smaller employers in the city.
In new business, the aldermen approved a supplemental agreement with Olsson Associates for additional services related to the bypass elimination plan at the wastewater treatment plant. The additional services will cost $5,000.
Eugene Dilbeck, city administrator, reported that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was unable to provide Olsson with the original models and raw stormwater inflow data collected for the channel along Town Branch.
Olsson will collect new cross section data at structures and key sections of the open channel. The company will also develop a new hydraulic model to estimate the capacity of the existing system and calculate the size of structures and open channels needed to alleviate the city's inflow problems. A new hydrologic model will be developed to estimate the existing flow rates.
Eugene Dilbeck reported that he doesn't foresee any other expenses associated with the development of the bypass elimination plan, which should be available for public presentation in November. The council approved the supplemental agreement.
In other business, the Cassville City Council:
* Heard that Mayor Tracy Holle, Lynette Dilbeck and Carolyn Bishop, Downtown Cassville Partnership president, will attend a Missouri Main Street Connection workshop in Kansas City on Aug. 9.
* Received reports on a vandalism incident that occurred at wells #1 and #2.
* Heard that the city will receive assistance with flooding repairs on the Greenway Trail and in other areas of the Cassville City Park. A federally funded disaster jobs program will provide the city with two employees who can work up to 480 hours each.
* Received an update on airport improvement projects.
* Heard that Allied Waste will be giving city residents the opportunity to utilize a second polycart for recyclable materials. The program, which will be voluntary, should be in place by Jan. 1, 2012.