Hilliard City Councilman Al Iosue, chairman of the newly formed Communications & Outreach Committee, wants to improve how the city of Hilliard communicates with its residents.

Hilliard City Councilman Al Iosue, chairman of the newly formed Communications & Outreach Committee, wants to improve how the city of Hilliard communicates with its residents.

During Monday night's finance and administration committee meeting, Iosue requested more than $40,000 be included in the 2009 city budget to fund the communications initiative.

Electronic communications are a major part of Iosue's plan.

At the top of his list is a request for $25,000 to redesign the city's Web site.

"I'd like to think our Web site could be a lot more user friendly than it is," Iosue said. "It could be a lot more graphically pleasing too."

Iosue said that while the current city Web site is used by residents for a number of purposes, including submitting service requests and finding information about upcoming meetings, he thinks a more interactive, easier to navigate site would be a popular and cost-effective means of providing information to residents.

He said he had visited other suburban Web sites and was particularly impressed with those in Grove City and Gahanna.

Iosue's also requested $10,000 to expanded utilization of the city's TENS (Telephone Emergency Notification System) system, often referred to as a reverse 9-1-1 system. That telephone system provides the city with the ability to automatically place phone calls to residents in the event of emergencies.

"Whether it be weather or emergencies, things that are happening in our community, we could contact everybody in the community at one time," Iosue said. "Residents could sign up for their cell phones and home phones to be contacted."

Iosue also requested $3,500 to $5,000 for the creation of a quarterly electronic newsletter that city residents would sign up for online and receive in their e-mail.

Iosue said his committee is also ready to proceed with the rebranding of the city's logo and anticipates the cost of that project being about $3,000.

Council President Brett Sciotto noted that project stalled earlier this year when concepts submitted by a consulting firm were not accepted.

Funds for the logo redesign are already in the 2008 budget.

Sciotto also suggested money be built into the 2009 budget for an informational campaign to inform residents of proposed charter review amendments, once those amendments are agreed upon and a date for placing them on the ballot is chosen. Cost estimates for such a campaign are yet to be determined.

jdonahue@thisweeknews.com