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New Township Web Site Gets Rave Reviews From Township Council

township web siteTownship Council members didn’t have much to critique when they were shown the township’s newly redesigned Web site at the Jan. 7 meeting.

The council was taken through the site’s new features by Justin Heyman, the township’s Information Technology director.

The overarching thought behind the redesign, Heyman told the council, was to give residents “the information they want, the way they want it.”

The Web site sports a new homepage with a background of township pictures, a number of new menus and a center “In the Spotlight” section.

The site, which Township Manager Bob Vornlocker called “a labor of love,” went live at about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 6, Vornlocker said.

“I’m very proud of all of the efforts that were put in by all of our staff members during this project,” he said. “I think the public will see a very useful tool for them.”

For the first time, Heyman said, the site will list all township employees with contact information.

The site also features township job postings and a number of Frequently Asked Question lists geared for specific areas.

“We wanted to reorganize the way we provided information to residents,” Heyman said. “We put together the menus so tat no matter how you think the information should be there, it will be there.”

Heyman said that recognizing that content on the former site “was lacking,” his department “spent time with every department head to sit down and scour through everything on the old site.”

There are separate sections geared to residents and to businesses, he said.

There’s also a method for people to subscribe to receive bulletins and information about specific topics, he said.

The bulletins “all drive them back to the Web site,” Heyman said.

There’s also a “How Are We Doing?” section, in which residents can make comments that will be sent to Vornlocker.

“We feel that this is a huge jump ahead from where we were,” he said.

And the work continues, Heyman said.

“I asked every department head and staff member to think of things (that could be added) over the next several months,” Heyman said.

Council members had some suggestions, but no one had anything bad to say about the redesign.

Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5) suggested that “Somerset County” be made a little larger on the homepage. He noted that there are several Somerset counties in the state, and wanted to make sure people were on the correct site.

Heyman said that the programmers created “things on the back-end so that when people search for Franklin Township, Somerset County, they will find us.”

Councilwoman Roz Sherman (D-Ward 2) suggested that a map of the municipal complex on DeMott Lane be added to the site to help people find their way around.

The township has such a map that could be added, Vornlocker said.

Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large) said the township “didn’t spend a ton of money” on the project.

“There’s a lot of thought product  that went into this,” she said.

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