JACKSON, Tenn. — One of Mayor Scott Conger’s first priorities when taking office was to update the city of Jackson website, which he says was not meeting residents’ needs.
“They need to have easy, accessible government online that is just a couple clicks away from whatever they need,” Mayor Conger said.
The city council signed off on a contract to create a website, costing $50,000 the first year and then an annual $16,150 for the next four years.
The website will cost a total of 120,100.
Brian Taylor, director of information technology for the city, says they went with Nebraska-based Intrado because of their rates.
“The other bidders would actually go up 10 percent per year, whereas the vendor we chose was going to keep that cost consistent,” Taylor said.
Mayor Conger says that price is because of a system that allows a location tag for reported problems, completing forms online and tracking progress on requests.
“The bulk of our cost is for our citizens request portal, which is going to provide a much higher level of transparency and accountability on our end,” Mayor Conger said. “If you look at our overall budget, that is point zero eight percent of our overall budget of our overall budget. That’s not a half percent, that’s not even one percent.”
The city’s debt has been a topic of discussion since before the mayor’s inauguration.
The city of Jackson is more than $70 million in debt, and the city has reduced their annual budget.
Mayor Conger says he is content with spending the money if he believes its worth it for the citizens.
“Better accountability, more transparency, direct contact with their request and pertinent issues, then I think its well worth point eight zero percent of our budget,” Mayor Conger said.
Taylor says the city won’t know immediately how much the city will save on the website.
“Certainly if something we did, didn’t play out to be cost savings or the information we wanted, certainly we would have to reevaluate that,” Taylor said.
Mayor Conger adds that the contract includes maintenance costs, so the company will be responsible for fixing any issues that come up.