It looks like the township has got some new digital digs.
Earlier today, West Orange Township officially launched its new website. According to township Public Information Officer Jessica Glicker, the new website will be a “virtual town hall.”
“The new look is sleek and stylish and is full of new features, new imagery and refreshed copy to make the site more user-friendly and encourage user interaction,” wrote Glicker in an email soon after the launch today.
To generate ideas and a direction for the website, the township had formed a Website Committee which consisted of administrators and resident volunteers. The website itself was designed by CivicPlus.
Now when you log onto the website, you will notice how much more clearly defined and labeled everything is compared to the old site. The centerpiece of the site is a slideshow of people around town and at various local events. Surrounding the slideshow is a calendar of upcoming events and public meetings, news and announcements, a township and department directory, and all of the other information you would expect to find on any local government website.
Looking for a specific service? The new website even categorizes alphabetically nearly every township service you may need. Council meetings will be stored and able to be viewed on the website, too.
Local programmer Matt Dragon, who works for Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Md., from the comfort of his home, was one of the volunteers who approached the township to help with the design of the website.
“It is much more modern technologically,” said Dragon about the new website. “One of the big issues I think they had with the old site was it was a very complicated, error prone process to get content updated,” something he said is sure to change now.
One of the newest features on the new website will be that residents can make township transactions online, such as paying fees and applying for permits. That service, however, will not be available for a few weeks.
“Everything you can do by coming to town hall,” said Glicker, “you can now do sitting in your home office or from your living room. Whether it is paying bills online, accessing permits, or ... generally any information that you would come down to town hall to get, you can do now from the comfort of your home.”
“Our philosophy is that most of the information, forms or services you can get at town hall should be available to the public from our website,” said Mayor Robert Parisi in a press release. “By making that information available, we are instantly increasing the productivity of town staff, while better informing the public of where their tax dollars are being spent."