Company customizing local sites
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jul 01, 2002
A Kansas-based technology company is offering affordable customized Web sites and e-government services to small cities and counties on a monthly subscription.
For the past year, CivicPlus (www.civicplus.com),
a subsidiary of Networks Plus, a Manhattan, Kan., technology company, has
been offering hosted Web site services to cities and counties and plans
to roll out several e-government initiatives later this year.
"We give them the look and feel of local governments without the cost
of hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Ward Morgan, chief executive
officer of CivicPlus and co-founder of Networks Plus. "This isn't a build-your-own
Web site system. We build it, and then they can manage it easily."
Currently 15 cities ranging from the town of Gypsum, Colo., with
a population of 3,654 to Cedar Park, Texas, nearly 10 times that size
are using the service, he said. Some basic modules include calendar items,
space for news flashes and a site search. Pricing is based on population,
so a city of 30,000 would pay about $300 per month.
Municipalities also can get options at additional cost, including being
able to poll the community on issues, e-mail, job and bid postings, document
management and notifications. Sites can support video and audio files as
well, he said. Scalability, reliability and redundancy are also not a problem
for the Web-hosting company.
The company, he said, is developing e-government modules, such as service
request forms and tracking, utility payment systems, and permits and applications.
The modules would have business logic software so officials and citizens
are notified of developments regarding a service request, such as repairing
In the past year or so, several municipal organizations and technology
companies have partnered to bring affordable technology services to smaller
municipalities. IBM Corp., the National League of Cities and National Association
of Counties have partnered to offer a subscription-based and hosted Web
development system, as did a separate initiative involving Avenet LLC, Microsoft
Corp., the League of Minnesota Cities and the International City/County
In those cases, users can build their own Web sites. Morgan said CivicPlus
provides expert graphic designers and engineers to help municipalities get
started. He said officials, who don't need any technical expertise, are
then provided a log-in and password so they can easily update and manage
their data via the Internet.
"There's no reason that a small local government can't provide the same
services to citizens as New York does," Morgan said.