Two decades after the World Wide Web made it possible for just about anyone to create an Internet portal, some local governments lack websites that could be used to provide residents with information about their decisions, public services and events in their communities.
Officials in towns that have websites said they are easy to update and citizens have found them to be a convenient method to acquire contact information, agendas and minutes for public meetings.
Among communities that have no website is the Otsego County town of Richfield, home to about 2,300 residents. Richfield Town Supervisor Fran Enjem said he thinks the town should have its own presence on the Internet, but he has met resistance from other town officials, including Town Clerk Monica Harris.
“Even though I had somebody willing to set it up for us for nothing, they are worried about who is going to take care of it and how much it is going to cost,” Enjem said. “A lot of people in town don’t come to our board meetings. But I think there would be more interest in finding out about things if we had a website.”
Contacted by The Daily Star, Harris said: “At this moment, we’re not set up to do it.”
“It will be a lot of work, and once you set up a website, you’re required to maintain it and do those postings,” she added “I also said I do not have the qualifications to do that, and if the town wants to do it, they will need to find someone to maintain it.”
Hartwick Town Clerk Sarah McGuire said she learned to operate her town’s website “with little or no training.”
“For the stuff I do (posting minutes and updating the town calendar), it’s quite easy,” McGuire said. “It’s not tons of work. You just take a Word document, cut and paste it, then hit ‘save’ and it’s there — done. It’s that easy.”