New town website in the works

There are plans to implement a new Town of Wilton website, First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice announced at the Board of Finance’s July 18 meeting.

“We are experiencing some operational issues [with] the website that we have now,” she said. “We always wanted a new website, but it kind of had to break to fix it.”

Vanderslice said the new website is included in the fiscal year 2018 budget and would be a “cost-saver” in terms of less overtime due to “the laborious nature of the current site and the anticipated reduction in emails since information will be more readily accessible.”

“So much of [the current] website is hard-coded. I have to have John Savarese put up the RFPs because it’s all hard-coded — a complete waste of [his] time,” said Vanderslice. Savarese is the town’s Information Systems Director.

“It should also cut down a lot of the emails we get where people are confused and can’t find things.” A new website should “reduce a lot of the inquiries we get,” said Vanderslice.

The town is just beginning the process of looking at ideas for a new website and a firm has not been chosen, said Vanderslice, but the goal is to have a new website that is “uniform,” easier to use and easier to customize.

Vanderslice shared examples of user-friendly websites of nearby municipalities with the finance board, but told The Bulletin it doesn’t mean those website firms have “any greater chance of being selected” for Wilton’s website.

“A lot of Connecticut municipalities,” like Darien, use QScend for their town websites, said Vanderslice. “There’s not a lot of variation from town to town,” she said, but “if you look at [their sites], you’ll see they’re much more customer service-driven.”

Vanderslice said many new municipal websites have newsfeeds and some allow people to sign up for agenda and minute alerts.

“If you’re somebody who regularly follows [town boards and commissions], you can sign up for those and as soon as an agenda is filed, they will get a copy of it — same for the minutes.”

As for when residents can expect a new town website, Vanderslice said there is “no specific time period other than a goal of before fiscal year end.