LONG HILL TWP. – The Township’s Communications Advisory Committee (CCC) is undertaking an effort to provide a more user-friendly municipal website for residents.
Township Commissioner Scott Lavender, who sits on the CCC, presented the idea to the township committee on Wednesday, April 28, saying it was time to bring the website “into the 21st century.” He said he would like to see a new and improved website at www.longhillnj.gov by the end of the year.
âIt has served us really well over the years, but the technology is changing,â he said.
âWe have a younger generation who are used to different aspects of social media and the way they interact on mobile phones and so on. I think now is the time to take the future seriously with a revamped website, especially when we take a look at what other cities have and how they interact with their constituents. “
Lavender circled the horn to ask his committee colleagues for their thoughts on the matter. Mayor Guy Piserchia, Deputy Mayor Brendan Rae and committee member Victor Verlezza all said specific information and services can be hard to find on the website, and the city should look to make the website more intuitive. and easier to navigate.
Verlezza added that an improved website would make interactions between the community and the town hall much easier.
Other suggestions include offering additional online payment options for tons services and making the website mobile-friendly.
âMost people are now working on their smartphones and we just aren’t capable of it,â Lavender said.
Piserchia said he thinks the quality and amount of information on the site is phenomenal, “but if you can’t find it, is the information really there?”
Township administrator Nancy Malool said residents can offer suggestions for improving the site through a communication tool on the website. Ironically, it took three minutes for committee members to locate the communications tool, which is reportedly found under âgeneral inquiriesâ on the contact tab of the website.
âScott, you just gave us a real-life example of what would be great to have on the website,â Piserchia said.
Planning Council Chairman Dennis Sandow, whose website efforts 20 years ago led to the site being named the state’s best municipal website in 2001 and 2002, said the question was more about the retention of content than the creation of a new website.
As an example, he featured information on the website to direct residents to the Long Hill Township Library. The website does a great job of providing directions, but it directs residents to the Old Library House on Central Avenue in Stirling rather than the current location on Valley Road on Gillette.
âThe only page that is not out of date is the page that describes the fire trucks in Millington, as they haven’t been replaced in over 20 years,â he joked.
Lavender agreed that this was not a technical issue besieging the website, but an access to information issue.
âYou are absolutely right, curation should be at the top of the list,â he said.
Lavender said he would challenge the ACC to write specifications to present to potential website vendors.