Town Launches New Website

Residents can now access a 'virtual town hall.'


It looks like the township has got some new digital digs.  

Earlier today, West Orange Township officially launched its new website. According to township Public Information Officer Jessica Glicker, the new website will be a “virtual town hall.”  

“The new look is sleek and stylish and is full of new features, new imagery and refreshed copy to make the site more user-friendly and encourage user interaction,” wrote Glicker in an email soon after the launch today.  

To generate ideas and a direction for the website, the township had formed a Website Committee which consisted of administrators and resident volunteers. The website itself was designed by CivicPlus.  

Now when you log onto the website, you will notice how much more clearly defined and labeled everything is compared to the old site. The centerpiece of the site is a slideshow of people around town and at various local events. Surrounding the slideshow is a calendar of upcoming events and public meetings, news and announcements, a township and department directory, and all of the other information you would expect to find on any local government website.  

Looking for a specific service? The new website even categorizes alphabetically nearly every township service you may need. Council meetings will be stored and able to be viewed on the website, too. 

Local programmer Matt Dragon, who works for Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Md., from the comfort of his home, was one of the volunteers who approached the township to help with the design of the website.  

“It is much more modern technologically,” said Dragon about the new website. “One of the big issues I think they had with the old site was it was a very complicated, error prone process to get content updated,” something he said is sure to change now.  

One of the newest features on the new website will be that residents can make township transactions online, such as paying fees and applying for permits. That service, however, will not be available for a few weeks.  

“Everything you can do by coming to town hall,” said Glicker, “you can now do sitting in your home office or from your living room. Whether it is paying bills online, accessing permits, or ... generally any information that you would come down to town hall to get, you can do now from the comfort of your home.”  

“Our philosophy is that most of the information, forms or services you can get at town hall should be available to the public from our website,” said Mayor Robert Parisi in a press release. “By making that information available, we are instantly increasing the productivity of town staff, while better informing the public of where their tax dollars are being spent."

Sherley Jean-Baptiste June 03, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Absolutely Love it. Great Job!
Cynthia Cumming June 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
So happy to see our great new site up and running!
Clare Silvestri Krakoviak June 04, 2012 at 12:51 AM
It certainly looks prettier, but I'm not sure it provides the same depth of information. Under Town Council Meeting Agendas, I could find none of the 2012 meetings, and the most recent Council Meeting Minutes posted is from April 24, 2012. In addition, the new site does not appear to include copies of any of the ordinances, resolutions and supporting documentation that had been included with agendas on the old website. Also, the article states, "Council meetings will be stored and able to be viewed on the website, too." But my search of the site only provided a listing of the viewings on Comcast Channel 36. (It directs FIOS customers to check listings for dates and times.) I'd appreciate if the editor could provide further information on how a resident would access recordings of the meetings through the site.
jessica glicker June 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The meetings/agendas are now posted on the new website in chronological order. Visitors to the site will soon be able to view the two most recent Council meeting videos. We will update the public when the videos are posted. We are currently in the process of downloading meeting material from past meetings, though this will take some time due to the vast amount of material that must be downloaded. Going forward, meeting material will be downloaded onto the website and kept current. We ask that residents please be patient as we work out the final few details of the newly-launched site. Inquiries and comments may be sent to Jessica Glicker (jglicker@westorange.org / 973-476-3413).
Cynthia Cumming June 05, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I'm sure I speak for most of the PRC when I say how appreciative we are of the many months Jessica Glicker and her team have spent on this website and in laying the foundation for positive PR for West Orange. I know how difficult this process has been, and the many hours of work put in to provide the community with an interactive site.


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