Mayor says top web site will be ‘85% funded’ by visitors

By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher

Marketing is one thing new Mayor Larry Jones has made a priority and his enthusiasm for a potential new city web site was palpable at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Though it could take until the first of the year to launch a site, the city is negotiating with CivicPlus, a company that builds web sites for municipalities, counties and school districts around the nation. The mayor showed the crowd examples of the company’s sites for Temple, Taylor and others.

“I am extremely excited about this,” Jones said. “They say you have seven seconds to make a good first impression and, for people looking at our town from the internet, this (professional web site) is our first impression.”

Jones said the site could also benefit locals, who can find information and potentially pay water bills and traffic fines online.

He said it would also allow the staff to easier communicate with the citizens.

“The best part is that, by our estimate, it will be 85-percent paid for by ‘other people’s money’,” he said.

Jones said paying for the site and its estimated $21,000 set up, would be divided between hotel-motel tax revenues (paid for by visitors), a half-cent muncipal development district sales tax (paid for in part by outof town visitors to the area’s large Walmart store), and the municipal court technology fee, which collects traffic fines from out-oftown drivers.

Jones said the city and MDD board are also looking at logo signs for use along US 77 to direct traffic into town and a company that makes videos of properties available for commercial use.

New board Jones also told the council that a new Municipal Development Board will need to be appointed in August, and current members are requesting a boost in the board’s numbers to share the workload.

The old district, consisting of the town’s annexed areas and extra-territorial jurisdiction, will be dissolved and a new one consisting of the entire city and ETJ will be established. The MDD board currently has four members.

Other business

The council also:

• Postponed discussion of action regarding East Cameron Avenue properties, due to pending litigation.

• Voted 3-2 to name Bernie Finley as alternate to the Building Standards Commission. Joyce Dalley, Toby Johnson and Allan Miller picked Finley, while Gerry Offield and Willie Phillips voted for Judith Slusher. (Councilman Doug Calame was not in attendance.)

• Applauded the Police Department for issuing 68 junk vehicle citations last month.

• Held a public hearing on the Public Drinking Water Report. No one spoke.

• Held a public hearing on establishing a “Central Area” zoning designation for the downtown area. The law would make it easier to rebuild older properties in the event of a fire or tornado, for example, as opposed to the current C2 Commercial designation, which has more stringent setback and construction requirements.

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