Firm helps towns communicate

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"Worldwide Web"

A Texas-based marketing company is offering small municipalities a Web site

development, hosting and public relations service so they can better communicate

with their constituents and the media.

ConsulttUs Group Inc. recently launched GovCom, saying that it would

provide "executive level" resources for villages, towns and small cities

unable to afford an information technology staff or Web-development firm

and media expertise.

Company president Howard LaMunion, who was a city councilman in upstate

New York for eight years, said he saw a need among municipalities with populations

of 8,000 to 20,000. Such municipalities frequently don't have a Web site

or, if they do, it's inadequate, he said, adding that some don't even have

a local-area network.

"The media doesn't pay attention to most of the things going on, so

how do you overcome that and communicate with citizens, businesses and the

media?" LaMunion said.

Municipal officials could use the GovCom service to post public notices,

press releases and other information for reporters and constituents, he

said, adding that his company also provides consulting services to the municipalities,

such as guidance on writing and editing.

He said the company tries to steer clear of handling political content

and insists information be mostly financially related. An improved Web site,

he added, could become an economic development tool for a smaller municipality,

enabling it to compete with larger ones.

LaMunion said the company, which is sending out a nationwide mailing

to about 2,200 municipalities soon, has signed up three municipalities so

far, but he projects that about 100 or so will inquire. It will cost between

$4,000 and $6,000 a month for hosting and content development.

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