Bethlehem’s Online Presence

They say those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and I readily admit that this is a very spartan blog, but let’s talk about the current state of the city website. Whenever most people look for anything about any topic, the first thing they are going to do is look to the Internet. As the gateway to information about our city we should be putting our best foot forward with a clean, navigable website.

As a resident I want to know how to get information about city services and policies. As a potential visitor, I want to know what’s going on in town. Right now it’s a chore to find information, if you can at all. The current site is something that has been patched and patched again for almost a decade with no real change. Trying to navigate it from your phone or tablet? Good luck.

A new website isn’t something that can be slapped together. It needs to be planned out with a quality team of experienced professionals. The employees who have been tasked with maintaining the current website have done their best with the resources they’ve been allocated, but we’re a city that’s growing, and we can, and should, allocate resources toward this. Between our small businesses and universities in town we have a lot of expertise and we should be exploring that collaboration.

What other things, big or small, would you like to see that would make an impact on the quality of life in our city?

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4 thoughts on “Bethlehem’s Online Presence

  1. Sticking with the website theme some basic online services would be nice. Paying taxes, fees, applying for simple permits or park rentals online would go a long way to get us in line with other municipalities. We expect this out of local business we should expect no less if local government.

    • I completely agree. Not only would it be more convenient to pay bills, but it would make the city more efficient and I can’t see how it wouldn’t decrease delinquency.

  2. File this post in the “Yes, we all know this – and yet nothing happens” category. I know there have been multiple offers to the City personnel responsible for decision making on the website which for any number of reasons have been untapped. It takes a commitment to want change before change can happen. As long as the website provides the content, it seems the value is already met.

    When I went to the city to pay for my water bill, I asked why I couldn’t pay it online. The attendant said, “… then I would be without a job.” Really? Someone would still have to process the payments. [blank stare] Perhaps there are city employees who could use leadership with a vision for change.

    Since the Bethlehem city staffers are already stripped to the bone, I don’t expect much to change in terms of website development. It takes money and time. Most folks still on staff are doing the work of two people. They are incredibly dedicated to their work and to their city. They are truly unsung heroes.

    We need changes to how we do things in order to grow. Before we can grow, we must see the value in change. I’m not sure we really do. There have been big changes in our community, but big change can also be done in the little things.

    A website that empowers its citizens to navigate city services…. that would be kinda huge.

  3. If we can’t have a single hauler, can we have the list on the web site? I called the number listed on the web site and the woman seemed shocked and put out that I didn’t have a fax machine. She finally emailed me a scanned copy that looked like it was written on a typewriter. This was December 2011.

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