City Website Will Undergo Transformation, Feature Video

Ease of access, transparency cited as reasons to invest in new web design and purchase of new software to publish documents and eventually video related to meetings.

Anyone with complaints about finding information on the city of Muskego website may have their prayers answered by fall 2012.

A combined investment of about $39,000 will overhaul the , as well as incorporate new software that will help provide more online documents and eventually include streaming video of meetings.

CivicPlus was recommended for the website redesign. The total cost of the package was $31,850, but the city will realize a $5,000 award from the company. Annual support and maintenance, which will begin in the second year of the contract, is $5,037, and includes a complete website redesign in the fourth year.

will also allow access to meeting agenda, records and other city documents on the website, as well as a video component to stream city meetings directly to the website. Costs for those add-ons were $4,750 and $7,000 respectively.

Alderman Neil Borgman felt the expense on the SIRE software required further scrutiny, but others on the council disagreed.

"I was surprised to see how quickly this was approved at the finance committee," Borgman said. "I'm all in favor of improving the website, but I'm a little put off by adding the video component - I'm thinking right now might not be the right time."

John Wisniewski, IT Director for the city explained that the proposal was likely the cheapest package the city could get to launch in 2012. He explained that even though there is video of the meetings, the signal is analog, and couldn't be posted online.

"The bottom line is this: as it stands, the current system allows you to watch it on TV; if its scheduled to be on, you have to make yourself available when it's scheduled," Alderman Keith Werner said. "The new system will allow anyone to go online click on this meeting and watch it at their convenience."

Borgman said he understood the differences, but still questioned the expense.

"I'm wondering if we're capable of financing this. If it's the wise thing to do, the necessary thing to do," he said. He stated that presently meetings are available online with an audio recording.

However, Alderman Kert Harenda said it takes time to locate certain topics in  meetings using the current system, and Alderman Dan Soltysiak said the New Berlin website, which uses the same software, allows users to select an agenda item and the video will automatically upload to that item's discussion.

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti also called the new software "the transparent thing to do," and said that many people are generally not interested in watching an entire meeting, so the system would be more efficient in getting them to their desired part of the meeting.

Ultimately the council unanimously approved the proposal, which Wisniewski said could have the website upgrades in place sometime in fall.


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