County launches new websites

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The county launched new, updated websites Nov. 9, Information Technology Manager Phil Burns announced during a Nov. 14 County Commission meeting.

The county’s main website, Shelbyal.com, was recreated after the county was selected as the $80,000 grand prize winner in a contest through CivicPlus, a company that specializes in designing local government websites.

“The site has been designed to be more engaging,” Burns said. “The old site was static and didn’t have interactive features.”

The website is also compatible with mobile devices, and online payments are available via cell phone, Burns said.

“You can sign in with your Facebook log in to customize how you want the site to look,” he said.

The site has a “transparency” tab that itemizes the county’s most requested items, Burns said, such as property tax information, audits and the tax structure of each municipality.

Residents can sign up for either text or email alerts for specific website postings, such as County Commission agendas or meetings or county news.

The county’s calendars, include the Hoover and Shelby County School Board calendars, are available on the site, as well.

The county’s tourism website, Discovershelby.com, also received a facelift. The site offers a new trails section, and a University of Montevallo class is assisting in creating QR codes that will be located at each of the county’s trail heads. This way, hikers can scan the code with their mobile device and be informed of the difficulty and length of the trail.

The county is also redesigning the Shelby County Sheriff Office’s website, as well as creating a site for the upcoming fire museum to be located in Calera.

“Go to any other county website in the state and compare it to ours,” Commissioner Corley Ellis said. “We’re light years ahead of the rest of them.”