Fair Lawn Contemplates Borough Website Overhaul
The borough is looking to upgrade its website, www.fairlawn.org, to provide residents a more interactive, user-friendly experience.
It wasn't all that long ago that just having a clean, navigable municipal government website packed with pertinent information on meetings, minutes, events, audits and contact lists was a novel concept.
Nowadays, with users also expecting convenient and interactive design capabilities, a pretty, information-loaded website is no longer enough.
As part of its five-year IT upgrade and transformation plan, Fair Lawn is considering making website interactivity improvements that would enable users to conduct municipal business online without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes.
"We’re looking into and are currently getting price quotes on a major overhaul of our website," borough manager Tom Metzler said Tuesday, "effectively making the website a 24-hour access to the municipal building."
Fair Lawn's current site affords users no direct interactivity with the borough, assistant borough manager Jim Van Kruiningen said. Forms are available on the site for download, but they must then be printed, filled out and returned to the municipal building via mail or physical drop off.
With the desired upgrade, residents would be able to pay taxes, bills and fines, file for permits or dog licenses, make public records requests and even sign up for rec center classes through the website. Payments would be made electronically using a credit card.
Thus far, the borough has spoken with one vendor -- CivicPlus -- about the technical capabilities offered.
"The technology is there," Metzler said. "We’re waiting to get the pricing."
As of Wednesday, the borough had yet to receive price estimates from CivicPlus, but Van Kruinigen said he anticipates it being expensive.
"It all comes down to what the cost factor is," he said, "because we have no idea what it's going to cost."
In addition to CivicPlus, which has designed websites for Howell, Cherry Hill and Newton townships, the borough will also speak with other vendors and report back to council with price quotes in a couple months, Metzler said.
Van Kruiningen, who, along with webmaster Ron Lottermann, currently oversees borough website updates, said CivicPlus' content management system is intuitive and easy for even web design novices to master.
If the borough were to enter into contract with a vendor, Van Kruinigen said both the borough and the community center website would be redesigned.