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Redesigned Borough Website Expected by Late January

Fair Lawn is contracting with QScend Technologies to design, build and host a more engaging and, eventually, interactive borough website.

Borough officials expect a full makeover of Fair Lawn's drab temporary website to be finished by late January.

The temporary site, a colorless and informationally-barren shell of its former self, has been in place since September when the town's former web host unexpectedly closed up shop and took Fair Lawn's website and email system down with it.

In late October, council approved the borough manager's recommendation to move forward with constructing a new-and-improved website, contracting with e-government provider QScend Technologies for about $30,000 to design, build and host the borough's new site. Fair Lawn will pay about $4,000 annually for website maintenance and 24-hour support, but its steeper initial costs will be covered by found money from old bond ordinances.

When the new website is rolled out its functionality will mirror the old site, but its content is expected to be more relevant for residents.

“We’re going to really spend a lot of time with the department heads to make sure that...we are able to lead our residents to access the information that they want," borough manager Tom Metzler said. "I think that’s something that the old site was lacking. If you’re coming in for a building permit, I would like the website to be able to tell you what you should have with you before you come in.”

Once the new site has launched, town officials will begin discussing the purchase of additional modules that would allow users to do things like pay taxes, tickets and permit fees online.

"There's two objectives," Metzler said. "The first goal and objective is to get the site up in the new format with much more resident information by department. The next objective is then to have that interactivity that residents can get more information from home so that they don’t have to come here all the time."

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Jenne December 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
A facebook page really wouldn't cut it-- as badly designed as the old site was, it had a LOT of information. Facebook is really not designed for storing information you want to get at regularly, but for quick communication. Whether it should cost $30,000? I don't know, but if the town hasn't been able to get back the data they had on the old website, it's going to be a significant investment just to get the information either through retrieving from archives, or reconstructing. Given that they are also having the site redesigned and apparently discussing with the departments what information could be put up there, it's not a penny ante job. $4000 annually for server space and maintenance is about $300 a month. So the question would be how much of the work of putting stuff on the site would be included in that.
Jenne December 05, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I used to read the community news for this stuff but suddenly stopped getting it. After fruitlessly calling numbers listed for it, I finally found one for the distribution center and hope that they will get us back on the distribution list. It's disturbing that the town relies on the Community news to distribute all kinds of information to the populace but there's no good way to report when the Record stops delivering this free paper.
Josh Stern December 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM
There are two residents who offered to do it for FREE. What a waste of money!
Zak Koeske December 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
@Jenne The first year would be ~$30,000 total, which includes purchase of the software ($17,700), the design and the support/maintenance. Then subsequent years it's $3,500-$4,000 annually for support and maintenance. Other companies offered cheaper initial costs, but their support/maintenance was 3 to 4 times more expensive, so in the long run it was more cost effective to go with QScend, according to the manager.
BellairBerdan December 05, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Jenne, I have had the same problems. You need to be persistent and every week you don't receive it call the Circulation Dept.1-800-376-6222. After 3 weeks they began delivering again and even got followup calls to see if I did get it. Most of my neighbors do not get the paper tossed into their yards anymore. I sense it is done on purpose to test the waters to see if someone complains. If they have less papers to deliver their costs go down. Another option is to call all those insert advertisers, especially those that recently changed from direct mail.Let them know their advertising money is not reaching the customers they pay to reach..

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