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updated: 7/1/2011 12:01 PM

Libertyville may boost digital presence

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Libertyville residents could get access to more online information and services as village leaders consider options to freshen the website.

The village also may use social media such as Facebook to dispense or receive information while showcasing businesses or other amenities to those outside the village.

The use of social media, online requests for service, smartphone applications for resident use and online agenda packets for village meetings are among the possibilities as the village plans for a website upgrade, tentatively scheduled to be unveiled in December.

That upgrade comes with new capabilities the village would like to include with the website launch.

To what extent any of those options will be pursued is to be determined, although there appeared to be general agreement among members of the village board's special projects committee that some improvements would be helpful.

Facebook notifications during the February blizzard, for example, could have been of benefit.

"I think it could be a very useful tool -- done correctly -- in getting information out to village residents," Trustee Jim Moran said during a committee discussion this week.

"It's a way for us to control our branding as a village in addition to disseminating information," he added.

Moran, who was elected in April, said during the campaign the village needed to make it easier for the public to learn what its local government was doing.

Libertyville already had taken some steps in that regard, including making audio-taped village board meetings available online, for example. That feature gets 10 to 30 hits per month.

Some meeting agendas, including the village board, are listed online but the supporting documentation is not. However, that capability will be available this fall.

"The technology is out there and it's a chance to bring more of what we do out to the village residents," said Moran, who contended the village in this regard should go "as paperless as we can."

Assistant Village Administrator Kelly Amidei estimated the village prints about 58,000 pages of agenda-related documents a year, although the cost is only about $700.

Mayor Terry Weppler said he prefers paper documents for his own use, but said it would be a good idea to make it available electronically. He noted there may be difficulty doing that with some attachments such as surveys or site plans, which is another aspect to be discussed further.

The next step is for the committee to consider a social media policy, continue work on getting agendas and related information packets online and examine the costs or options to videotape board meetings.

Officials this year have budgeted for a website design upgrade, for a one-time fee of about $2,500. It also will get an upgrade every fourth year by paying about $1,000 per year to its service provider.