New Wright County website to launch Monday


It has been several months in the making but, when Wright County residents go online to starting June 9, they’re going to see a very different county website. The intention of eventually going as paperless as possible and allowing the Internet to serve as the primary conduit between residents and county government will begin to become a reality.
Wright County Information Technology Director Bill Swing made a presentation to the Wright County Board of Commissioners at its May 27 meeting, re-affirming that change is coming. The first in many steps along the way in this process will be updating and upgrading the county website, which has remained virtually unchanged since the county first went online in the mid-‘90s.
 “When our citizens enter our website on Monday, June 9, they’re going to see a completely redesigned website,” Swing said. “It will be intuitive. It will be easier to access information. The point I’d like to make is that, while we’ve redesigned the site, anything you can or cannot find on the old (site), you will be able to find or not find on the new website with one exception – the county board function.”
The county board has been an integral component of the change. When four new commissioners joined the board in 2013, one of the first complaints was the static nature of the website and the disconnect it seemed to have with county residents. Since the beginning of the year, county board meetings have been streamed live over the website and, when the new site launches, residents will be able to access a complete set of board minutes, the current board agenda and supporting materials that the commissioners use to make decisions at board meetings.
Swing pointed out that, while the site will look different immediately, fully upgrading the website will take time. It will need to incorporate the many departments within county government to create more transparency and allow residents to easily access the information they currently need to show up at the county courthouse to obtain.
“The real work of the website starts now,” Swing said. “It really requires engagement from the departments. The redesigned site situates us with toolsets that will take us into the future. What it really requires is a joint effort. This site will be very strategic as we move into the future. Delivery of services from government in general will be more reliant on the Internet. If we do our work correctly, we should minimize the need for taxpayers to come into the government center.” 
While the look of the website will come overnight (June 8 into June 9), Swing cautioned it remains a work in progress that will, in the end, revolutionize how the county interacts with its residents.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.