EATON — Preble County will soon have a new website, thanks to a project undertaken by the Preble County Commissioners.
“Civic software is designed specifically for local government. That’s all they do. It’s web hosted. We have approved three products from them and that is Civic Clerk, Civic Engage and Civic Ready,” Commission President Rachael Vonderhaar said.
“Civic Clerk will then allow us to do all of our clerking through their system. And it’ll be a pipeline build — it allows the agendas to be built in there with the supporting documents attached to them. And so, then it creates with the website, the online library for access for the public. You’ll not only get to see the agendas, but you’ll get to see the supporting documents that go with them,” she continued.
“Transparency is the name of this commission. And I think making it as easy as possible for the public to access,” she said.
“And it’s important to note, along with all that good stuff, that we’ve gotten buy in from the Sheriff’s Office and Council on Aging. JFS is going to get a new website out of this,” Commissioner Adam Craft.
“And JFS doesn’t have a website,” Vonderhaar added. “They’re pretty excited.”
“They’re all going to get this platform and it is going to be a consistent brand across the entire county and they will be able to modify their content,” Craft said.
“Civic Engage website design gives the opportunity for the public to, if they have certain topics that they want to follow, bookmark that essentially to notify them and the notification can be by email or text,” Vonderhaar said. “They sign up for how they’d like to be contacted. And then Civic Ready is the other piece to it. And that will allow our Emergency Management and our sheriff to be able to send out notifications related to weather or other situations that the public needs to be made aware of.”
“Civic Clerk offers the opportunity for both video and audio and the transcripts automatically are typed up inside of it,” Vonderhaar said, noting that commissioners still have to look at what equipment and layout will be needed in commission chambers to make the most of the system.
“Any committee that falls under us has the opportunity to utilize our site and our software to then keep their records live on the site too,” she added, noting it fits well with the software put in place for Microfilm and Records.
The goal is a one-stop-shop for county information, according to Craft, including the townships.
“The other thing that we’re going to be working on, and hopefully by the end of 2022, we can get it done, is online plan submittal and online application submittal for our building and zoning department, which is going to be huge for our contractors to try and save them time,” Craft added.
Online payment processing will also be available for any services which can be purchased online, Vonderhaar said. “Lots of counties around us have been doing it for a while,” she said. “We’re just looking to make life easier for the people who live in Preble County.”
The website project is being funded by CARES money, according to commissioners. “The citizens of Preble County did not pay for this out of general fund monies,” Craft said. “And that’s huge. I mean, we made a huge investment in our long-term future, and we were able to do it without any investment from the general fund.”
“This is government continuity in a time of pandemic and what truly may come in the future, who knows? This is what those dollars were designed for,” Vonderhaar said.
The new website URL will be located at preblecounty.gov, according to officials. The Preble County Commission has also established a Facebook page, @PrebleCounty,Ohio to begin sharing county information.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.