Cass commissioners vote to approve redesign of website

CASSOPOLIS — The Cass County website will soon be getting a new look.

During the Cass County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, the board of commissioners voted to approve CivicPlus as the vendor for a redesign and upgrade of the county website. The total investment for the redesign and first year of service is $32,900. From the second year and beyond, annual services for the website will cost $4,000.

Many in the community have long said the county has needed a website upgrade. In June, Cass County’s Information Systems Department Director Kerry Collins supported the idea to update the website, saying that the current website is outdated and difficult to navigate.

“The website was designed in 2004. It was never meant to be the only website the county ever has,” he said at the time. “It solved a problem at the time when websites were new. It’s time for a facelift for the website. It’s time for new content to be developed, and it’s time to create our internal systems to support that.”

With Thursday’s vote, Cass County commissioners began the process of updating the website.

County Administrator Karen Folks said that she was confident CivicPlus was the proper vendor for the job.

“CivicPlus is one of the go-to website design and development vendors in the United States for governments,” Folks said. “They have done thousands for governments, because that is their sole focus. They really are outstanding.”

According to CivicPlus’ proposal, the website redesign will make the website more user-friendly and accessible for Cass County residents.

“This is going to be so much more user friendly,” said board chairman and commissioner Terry Ausra. “I think they are going expand services … It’s much more powerful than what we have been using.”

Folks said CivicPlus will begin work on the website by the beginning of 2019, and within six or seven months, the newly redesigned website will launch.

Also Thursday, the Cass County Conservation District presented its annual report to the Cass County Board of Commissioners.

Cass County Conservation District Administrator Korie Blyveis said 2018 was a successful year for the district, especially in terms of outreach.

In 2018, the district had 2 million passive outreach impressions through press releases, tabling and other passive events. The district also had 3,000 active outreach impressions through active presentations, events and home visits. The district also saw 452 likes on 169 Facebook posts throughout the year and had 43 volunteers complete 678 hours of community service.

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