By Lisa Young
The town of Hotchkiss rolled out a new and much improved website at the end of 2020. Karen Laing, deputy town clerk, has been busy migrating information from the old and hard to maintain website to the new streamlined platform.
“We are in the process of decommissioning the old site. If you do a search and the old one comes up, if you click on it, it should redirect you to the new site,” Laing said.
The new town web site found at townofhotchkiss.colorado.gov was announced on Dec. 29 via the town’s Facebook page. Both Paonia and Crawford have already taken advantage of the state’s official web portal in an effort to provide a better experience for users.
The new site for Hotchkiss users is a work-in-progress and will be updated over time, according to Laing.
“We tried to make it as user friendly as possible. We tried to go at it more from user’s prospective than from someone who’s inside the town office. So, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, we tried to make it easier to find,” she said.
The website has a clean look with a thin gold banner across the top with vital information from the state on COVID-19 which provides both state and national resources.
Visitors are greeted on the main page with the town’s logo on the main banner and a blue menu tab directing visitors to various tabs including, home, about the town, departments, events, job opportunities, pay my bill and services.
The “about the town” tab, offers a drop down menu with “contact us” tab where they can email questions or comments to the town council, clerk’s office, marshall’s office, public works department and others.
There is an important disclaimer on the “contact us” page reminding senders that “personal or personally identifiable information contained in a question or comment sent to the town in an e-mail message or in an online form submitted to the town will be used by the town to respond to the request.”
In addition, information provided to the town via the “contact us” page will be kept by the town and “may be disclosed to others pursuant to the requirements of the Sunshine Law.”
Laing said the “pay my bill” tab is currently under construction. Once completed, the new and improved payment system will allow citizens to pay utility bills, court fines and standpipe pre-payments online.
Both the towns of Paonia and Crawford are currently using the state run payment portal which allows citizens to make payments via check or credit card.
Also on the Hotchkiss main page, users can access the town’s documents and common links via two more tabs. Under the documents tab, lays information from building permits to municipal ordinances to town council meetings and minutes.
Laing said it’s important for users accessing town council minutes to keep in mind that the minutes are not posted until they’ve been approved by the board. The municipal ordinance tab/information is another ongoing project.
“We’re working with MuniCode to have all our ordinances codified, then the municipal ordinance tab will take users to the database with MuniCode where all the ordinances will be searchable,” Laing said.
The link for the new MuniCode information should be available by the end of 2021.
Under the common links tab on the main page, users can find links to Delta County, Delta County Schools, Hotchkiss Fire Department and much more.
Laing said the new site was designed to present the information “through the lens of the users” rather than town employees.
“That’s why somethings are in different places than they were on the old site. I tried to put information in two or three places because everybody’s brain works differently,” Laing said, adding that the town welcomes feedback on the new website.