Town Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan isn’t old enough to remember when folks in town got their news from legal notices nailed to horses’ hitching posts, but he does recall when everyone turned out for the annual town meeting to hear what was going on in town or got their news via the “party line” – phone lines shared by several subscribers so conversations were rarely private.
While O’Sullivan still fields calls with questions about the transfer station’s hours, recycling and more, most people turn to technology for their information. And come July 1, Orange will have a new, updated website designed by Civic Plus that will provide state-of-the-art municipal technology. The new system will not only streamline information from all town departments quickly and efficiently, but it will also make a host of systems easier, quicker and more efficient.
In a proposal to the Board of Selectmen last month, O’Sullivan outlined the new website’s possible capabilities which include paying taxes online, processing zoning applications, building and health department permits; obtaining marriage certificates, registering for Park and Recreation programs, accessing agendas and minutes to town meetings and even casting absentee votes. “The beauty of the system is important information is only two clicks away,” O’Sullivan said. “It would also relay security-related alerts, like a tree down on a road or an emergency at one of the schools. It is a significant leap forward.”
O’Sullivan selected Civic Plus because of the company’s commitment to working with municipalities to ensure the website succeeds, citing its on-site training with 24/7 help desk and its experience managing websites of more than 2,100 cities and towns including Madison, Clinton, Woodbridge, West Haven and Ledyard. “They have a 98-99% retention rate and a strong following,” O’Sullivan said. According to O’Sullivan, his department has already allocated money from this year’s and last year’s budget to pay for the upgrade which is expected to cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per year.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent