By Cameron Rasmusson
A years-long project is finally in the bag with the launch of the new city of Sandpoint website Tuesday night.
Designed to be more user-friendly and simpler to maintain, www.sandpointidaho.gov is live and ready to use. According to Sandpoint city planner Aaron Qualls, the new website should make accessing city resources and information easier for residents, prospective new business owners or developers.
“The new website offers more visual interest for potential visitors or job creators,” Qualls said. “More information is available for visitors and it’s easier for staff to update.”
Sandpointidaho.gov includes new capabilities to receive automated notifications for council meetings or other scheduled city functions. It offers a more intuitive design. And it streamlines public records by allowing persistent access to information packets for council or committee agenda items.
“This website is more designed with the end user in mind,” Qualls said.
The website was first cleared in the city budget before Qualls started working for the city in 2013. He said it’s been a long road to find a contractor and initiate development. Ultimately, the city hired California company Vision Internet in a $23,975 contract to handle the design.
Some residents were slighted that the city looked outside the state rather than offer local companies the opportunity to bid. Qualls said that while the city hired locally to redo its branding, it selected Vision Internet because it specializes in municipal websites. Since the company already had website architecture for government functions already in place, Qualls said the contract was likely cheaper than a custom job.
“Something specifically made for local government was attractive for us,” he said. “We didn’t want to necessarily restrict ourselves to a local company.”
The city aims to make the website more intuitive and fine-tuned as they receive feedback. Staff members welcome any suggestions or problem reports and hope the public will assist in that task.