Helena Council approves amendment to create new city website

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – The city of Helena will soon have a sleeker, more updated city website that is more mobile-friendly, after the Helena City Council approved to amend the budget to make the necessary changes.

The budget amendment passed with a 4-1 vote, as Helena City Councilwoman Laura Joseph voted against the website update at the latest meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.

The push to amend the budget and update the city website was spearheaded by Helena City Councilman Brian Puckett, who said the change is needed to make the site more mobile-friendly, among other reasons.

“Our current city website is very outdated,” Puckett said. “If you’ve gone to it anytime recently in the last five years, it’s not a mobile responsive site and that’s really how we do business as a community now is through our mobile devices.”

The city will use Town Web Design, LLC who specializes in designing and building websites for municipalities. They currently power more than 531 municipalities across 29 states.

The total cost for the new city website will be up to $10,000 for a complete redesign, first year hosting and a webcam purchase.

A webcam could be added to Old Town Helena and the new website would combine the city, utilities, parks and recreation, police and fire into a singular website.

Other benefits of the new website will be easy navigation, the ability to accept payments through the website using company’s payment processing platform, a centralized location for all agenda and meeting minutes and more.

Puckett said combining the departments on the new website will make it easier and more efficient.

“Not only do we have the one main city website, but we also have four other ancillary sites that are departmental websites on our old site,” Puckett said. “The proposal is to add all four of those sites together and make one nice big community focused website rather than a government heavy website.”

During council comments, Joseph stated that her reason for rejecting the budget amendment was because she was “Uncomfortable with a few of the finer points in the project.”