Wright County website upgrades coming in May


As advancements in how we communicate and access information becomes more dependent on technology, Wright County is preparing to make a big technological leap, starting in May, as the updating of the county’s website is the first step in the process of going increasingly paperless. Given the amount of forms and documents that are filled out at the county courthouse, it will be a daunting task, but something the county has been working on for some time.
Information Technology Director Bill Swing said after the March 25 meeting of the county board that process of overhauling the county’s website is the first tangible step of an upgrade that has been in the works for almost two years.
“This project started during the budget hearings in 2012,” Swing said. “We budgeted to start the upgrading of our website last year and, last summer, we distributed Requests For Proposal nationwide to a list of vendors explaining in detail what our needs were. Last fall, we narrowed that list down to three and approved a vendor earlier this year.”
That company, CivicPlus, of Manhattan, Kan., not only submitted the most cost-friendly bid, but already had a history in Minnesota – creating new websites for Anoka and Washington counties. 
The problem the county has experienced, aside from a woefully antiquated official website, which hasn’t changed much since its inception in the mid-1990s, is a group of several separate core systems working independently of one another in the county. Human Services has its own system. So does the Sheriff’s Department, the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office, Planning and Zoning and other county departments. The new system would integrate them all together.
Swing credited Commissioner Mark Daleiden with spearheading the effort to speed up the process. When Daleiden was running for county commissioner in 2012, he was appalled by what he saw on the county’s website, which had the look of a website designed on the cheap with very little interaction with the public. 
Swing said that, while things won’t change immediately, the May 1 launch of the new website will be the first step in an ongoing process.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.