County considers changes to Web site

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By Chris Sardelli

John Baker often keeps up with the agendas for various local council and commission meetings.

But sometimes he’s not able to find the information he needs on the county’s Web site.

That’s why Baker, a Heath Springs resident, decided to speak at Lancaster County Council’s Aug. 10 meeting.

Baker said he’s generally pleased with the county council Web site, which features detailed information on agendas, but said there’s almost no information for other important groups that meet throughout the county.

“I’m glad to see this on here (the council agenda),” Baker said. “The things we need to see are schedules of meetings for boards and committees, and the agendas for boards and the minutes as well. This is so if the public is not able to attend a meeting, they can see what those boards are doing.”

Baker said he would prefer to see the information displayed on the county Web site for easy access.

Councilman Jack Estridge said he’s heard many requests for information about the various county commissions. He requested council consider updating the county Web site to include board and commission minutes online. Estridge suggested that making this information accessible could lead to less confusion among county residents.

“Particularly with the issue of the Pleasant Hill Volunteer Fire Department, a lot of people in the community were not aware of things that took place,” Estridge said. “It does keep people informed.”

Council Chairman Rudy Carter agreed it was time to make the additions to the Web site.

“You can go online and get County Council minutes, but none from anywhere else,” Carter said.

Carter hopes this could lead to increased government transparency.

“This is one thing your government should do. You shouldn’t have to ask questions,” Carter said. “You should see it the way we see it. This program will be a great benefit to the whole community so they don’t have to go out and ask questions.”

County Administrator Steve Willis said the idea of updating the Web site has been discussed for  several years, though there has never been the funding to make changes. The current system is in need of an upgrade because there is no easy way to update or add information, Willis said.

He would like to see the county switch to a content-management system, which would allow  county departments the ability to post new information, such as agendas and board meeting minutes. A new Web site could include everything from county financial records to building permits, Willis said.

Willis is now working to get an estimate of the cost of making changes to the county’s Web site, www.lancastercountysc.net.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416