Frequently Asked Questions
Here are questions that are asked frequently among municipalities wondering about our services. Each question is answered with all municipalities in mind. We are able to provide in depth answers with your municipality in mind when you get in contact with us.
Unfortunately for us, there is not necessarily a legal mandate that municipalities have a Website. Probably the closest thing would be Public Act 660 (Assessing Reform) which may require you to have a Website if your municipality is located in an area that can be served by broadband internet.
Legalities aside, there are many great reasons for your municipality to have a Website:
Probably not. Shumaker Group has successfully worked with communities with as few as a couple hundred residents to establish and maintain a great Website.
Even if you think you’re too small to have a great Website, we’d still like to have a conversation with you.
Please don’t just assume that you can not afford a great Website. Just because you have gotten quotes before doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t afford a Website. In a single RFP a few years back, we saw prices range from $2,500 – $44,000 for the exact same Website.
It’s possible you can allocate some of your American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund towards a new Website or a Website Revamp.
In some cases, we’re also able to offer discounted pricing for clients that can be flexible on timeline.
Even if you think you can’t afford a great Website, we’d still like to have a conversation with you!
An analogy that we like to give people is that buying a Website is kind of like buying a car. Don’t worry, a Website is MUCH less expensive! First, you need to pick a Vendor (similar to picking a manufacturer for your car). Of course, we hope you’ll pick us. Then you have to narrow down what features that you want (similar to selecting a model of car), and then you have to determine what if any add-ons you want (similar to selecting the trim level for your car). A larger municipality that needs the Website equivalent of a new top of the line truck might expect to pay more than a tiny township or village that just needs a basic place to post their meeting minutes.
There are many factors that can influence the total time it takes to create your Website.
In general, we see projects take anywhere from about 1-6 months from approval depending on these factors. If you have a hard deadline such as a hosting agreement ending with another provider, budget year constraints, etc. it’s best to discuss them with us at the beginning of the project. In many cases, we can also take over hosting and supporting your existing site while we build the new site if you’re on a tight timeline and a previous provider will not cooperate.
Public Act 660 requires that if your municipality owns real property in an area that CAN be served by broadband, then you must publish certain assessing data online. Obviously that is difficult to do if you don’t have a Website.
Even if PA 660 doesn’t currently apply to you, it never hurts to get ahead of the curve and start publishing that data. This helps you to be transparent with your residents and prospective residents. And, with broadband rolling out to more and more communities, it’s likely a question of “when” PA 660 will apply to you, not “if” PA 660 will apply to you.
You absolutely can (and should) publish Public Notices on your Website to get the maximum exposure possible for them. Unfortunately, this is one area where law has not kept up with technology. While there have been many proposals in the legislature to allow posting Public Notices on a Website to replace posting them in a newspaper, none of those proposals have yet been enacted into law.
Keep in mind that even though the law may still require you to publish them in a newspaper, posting them on a Website may be equally if not more important. Many communities no longer have a newspaper that is located close to them, and fewer and fewer people subscribe to and read the newspaper on a regular basis. And, while the law might not have caught up to technology yet, it’s likely that it will in the future and better to be ahead of the curve.
We believe that our affordable pricing, extensive experience working with hundreds of municipal clients, and our commitment to staying up to date by attending, exhibiting, and presenting at various industry events makes us the perfect fit to build your new Website.