SPRING LAKE - The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen is scheduled to discuss issues with the town’s new website during its work session Monday.
The board meets at 6 p.m. in the Grady Howard conference room at town hall.
The town moved to a new website at the end of December at www.townofspringlake.com.
Alderman Raul Palacios said the website has had issues being user-friendly and being accessible to people with limitations, citing a lack of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Local government websites are required to comply with the ADA and ensure that digital content is accessible for those with disabilities including visual, auditory and other physical limitations. Local governments can be fined for digital ADA non-compliance.
Palacios and Alderwoman Sona Cooper are leading the discussion on issues with the website.
“The issue is the town spent over $56,000 over the last couple of years on a website that is poorly developed, non-compliant with the ADA, not user-friendly and has issues that have not been easy to fix,’’ Palacios said.
He said there is no indication that the town was presented with multiple proposals to consider before awarding a contract.
The website contract was approved in 2019 between the town and Vision Quest Venture LLC for $57,673. The project was slated to take 20 weeks, including 14 weeks of development; however, it took over two years to complete. Biz Tools developed the original www.spring-lake.org website in 2006.
“Biz Tools had not been approached to submit a proposal to renovate our site before proceeding with VQV,’’ Palacios said. “They operate sites like PWC, Sanford and Duplin County and would have renovated our site for $3,000 to $6,000 versus the $56,000 we spent on our current site.’’
Palacios said he plans to propose that the town reach out to Biz Tools to try and resolve issues with the site.
“I’m going to propose that we go back to Biz Tools for financial reasons, at a yearly savings of $3,600 and because of the user-friendly experience that will resolve complaints from citizens, staff and officials,” he said.
In other business, the board is scheduled to hear a presentation from Jim Golden with Homeserve for a service line warranty program endorsed by the National League of Cities. The program offers lower-cost emergency repair or replacement plans for private water and sewer line repairs connecting the homeowner to local contractors. They also educate homeowners on their responsibilities regarding repairs and related costs with aging water and sewer infrastructure.
The board also is expected to discuss the various town committees and their scope of work, including their roles, practices, bylaws and procedures. The Spring Lake Community Appearance and Sustainability committee, the Board of Adjustment, the Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory committee, the Recreation Advisory committee, the Minimum Housing Appeals board and the Senior Enrichment Program Advisory committee will all be discussed.
The board has scheduled a special meeting for 1 p.m. to go into closed session. It is citing privileged information and attorney-client privilege as the reasons for the closed session.
Jami McLaughlin covers Spring Lake for CityView TODAY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.