VALDOSTA -- The City of Valdosta's new website will be presented during a demonstration at 11 a.m. today in the Council Chambers of City Hall. The site includes a new, user-friendly format, as well as several changes that make the site more dynamic. According to City Manager Larry Hanson, "The difficulty we had in the past was keeping our information current and useful to citizens. Any updates we wanted to post had to first be sent to a second party, who would then make the changes. With the new site there are no delays, because we are now able to immediately update the site ourselves from any computer, at any time."

New features residents will find helpful include a list of the latest job openings with the city, along with an online job application. City council minutes and agendas are instantly updated each month, and the site includes a searchable database of both. Citizens looking for the most up-to-date information and news from the city will be pleased to find a listing of all press releases, updated weekly, as well as a listing of the City's newsletter, the "City Beat."

Perhaps one of the most useful new additions for city staff is the creation of online "comment cards" whereby citizens can directly email city staff on any issue -- with a complaint, criticism, or a compliment.

Hanson explained the importance of the new system. "The question and comment section on the new site is invaluable to us. I don't think there's ever been an easier way for citizens to give us this kind of direct feedback, where they can also easily hear back from us in a timely fashion."

The new site also includes an online calendar for each department, as well as an online Driving Tour of the City's Historic Districts. The tour is printable, and comes complete with directions, a map, photos and descriptions of every home on the Historic Driving Tour. Although many improvements to the site have been made, the city still isn't finished with its work.

Hanson said, "We are currently working towards our next goal, which is the online payment of Water and Sewer bills, as well as the online payment of Recreation and Parks programs and facilities. By the time we're through, families will be able to pay their water bill, sign their children up for sports, and rent a pavilion for their next reunion all from the comfort of their own home. This site is only as good as it is useful to our citizens."



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