The city soon may have an updated website at which residents could not only learn about city business but make online payments for water bills and traffic tickets.
Members of council's finance committee agreed Monday, Oct. 15, to send an ordinance for a contract with AFS WEB (At First Site Inc.) to the full council for a first reading.
Reynoldsburg IT Director Scott Teeters said the contract calls for a payment of just under $30,000 to AFS to redesign and host the city's website, with monthly support fees of $560 for two years.
"It should take about three to four months to go live after we sign the contract," Teeters said.
AFS has designed websites for area cities, school districts and corporations, including the city of Gahanna's website, gahanna.gov and the city of Delaware's site, delawareohio.net.
AFS President Christina Blenk said each website is designed for the unique needs of each client.
"Our goal is to make the website user-friendly and city-focused," she said.
Councilman Scott Barrett asked about the maintenance fee of $560 a month, which he called "a big jump from the $70 a month" the city currently pays.
Blenk said the monthly maintenance fee includes hosting the site on two different servers.
"Software will run on one server, with a database on another server," she said. "When we took the city of Gahanna live, they got a 40 percent increase in traffic. Upgrades to software are included, along with other updates."
Teeters told the committee the new website will have better bandwidth and speed and that department personnel could be trained to easily update their department pages.
"Each department will be responsible for updating their own portion and a lead person will be trained to maintain that portion of the website," Teeters said.
Blenk said she would conduct the training.
"I could train people on-site and use any training room you want to use," she said. "I also have staff available for any questions any clients may have."
Mayor Brad McCloud said the money to pay for the redesign will come from several different existing accounts, including $8,500 from the unappropriated computerization fund and $15,000 in unappropriated water fund money.
Councilman Nathan Burd encouraged people to look at Gahanna's website.
"This redesign will change the way residents do business with the city of Reynoldsburg," he said.
The AFS contract calls for a planning phase that includes initial interviews with key people from each city department to determine specific challenges and a design phase during which AFS will present various design page proofs for approval before developing the website.
Blenk said in the cover letter to her proposal that "AFS is the oldest pure web development company in Columbus with 15 years of experience and is an Ohio company 100 percent owned by a woman."