Monday, March 31, 2003
County Executive Dennis Levinson has a goal of developing an Atlantic County Web site that serves as an optimal resource of information for local residents and visitors. Consequently, the Atlantic County Web site, www.aclink.org, has been systematically reorganized to include more information and to make access to that information easy. According to recent county statistics, his plan appears to be working. There has been a 32% increase in visitors to the county's Web site over the last year.
While Levinson admits that the county Web site, like most others, is a continual work in progress, he is pleased with the direction it has taken. "Our Web site is constantly being updated to reflect the most current information and to improve the public's access to a multitude of programs, services and attractions available throughout Atlantic County." Levinson also noted that the county site was developed in-house and continues to be maintained by county employees, at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
The county first launched its Web site in late 1995. The original site was limited to just a few pages but has grown to more than 6,000 pages over the past seven years and attracts approximately 10,000 visitors each week.
Current Webmaster Norman Unsworth has been working with a team of employees to provide a contemporary, consistent look to the site that includes the use of dynamic pages to store and retrieve information.
"The use of dynamic pages helps us present a wider array of useful information on a daily basis," said Unsworth. For example, an emergency alert appears on the county homepage whenever the Office of Emergency Preparedness issues a warning and activates an alert. According to Unsworth, the alert has appeared numerous times since becoming available late last year. It was most recently visible during the February blizzard, alerting the public of severe weather conditions, hazardous driving conditions and curtailed county services.
The homepage promotes the most timely interests. It currently features the 2003 budget, the smallpox vaccination plan and a homeland security guide. Prior to the flu season, a complete list of community vaccination sites was included. Updates about road construction projects appear each week as does the Ocean Water Quality Index during the summer months.
Information is updated as needed, sometimes as often as three times a day. Visitors can often find press releases posted before they ever appear in print. "It's news the public can use without waiting for the media," remarked Unsworth.
The site is also an important employment resource. County job postings and applications are included in addition to job readiness and training information. Links to employment opportunities within the county's education system are also provided.
According to Levinson, visitors to the county Web site can interact with Atlantic County in more ways than ever before. "Vendors can now do business online with the county through its competitive bidding process. Open bids for goods and services are regularly posted along with their subsequent results. Online visitors may also access grant applications for the arts and recreation registration forms, among others," he said.
For more information about the county's Web site, please contact Norman Unsworth at (609) 345-6700, ext. 4527.