Talon News - Good Local News



October 27, 2017

Dorothy Nobis

Bloomfield City Manager, Eric Strahl, left, looks at the city's new website with Bloomfield's IT specialist, Jerri Carle.

In a world where information is available at the touch of a keyboard, the need for businesses – and government – to have a presence online is critical.

When Eric Strahl took on the responsibilities of the City of Bloomfield's City Manager position, he had many challenges and opportunities put before him. One of those challenges and opportunities was to update the city's website.

"The city's previous website was old and in need of updating," Strahl explained. "We needed to provide more information to residents and visitors in a format that was more appealing and easier to navigate. We needed a website that allowed residents and visitors to obtain information without having to contact Bloomfield City Hall. The new site also links users to other websites, where even more information is available."

After weeks of researching potential website designers, Strahl discovered EvoGov, a website development company in Denver that develops and hosts websites for governments across the country.

"We needed a website that showcases the positive aspects of Bloomfield so we can do a better job of promoting our community to residents, tourists and potential businesses," Strahl said. "Another goal was to develop a website that is easier to update and change, allowing the city's staff to make changes to the site as needed." A successful website also allows a better use of technology and can be viewed on not only a computer screen, but on phones, Strahl added.

Creating a new website that is informative, easy to navigate, includes photos that showcase the city, and getting city staff – much of which is understaffed because of the downturn in the economy – to provide the necessary information was a challenge, said Jerri Carle, the city's internet technology specialist.

"We knew from the beginning that we wanted each department to be responsible for its own page," Carle said. "In doing so, we had to create a sense of ownership, creativity, and fun."

That became a challenge. "I believe that was the hardest for most people, as websites in the past have been difficult to manage and few of our department heads had the self-confidence to do it," Carle said. "Once we showed everyone how simple their page was to maintain, the ownership, creativity and fun easily followed."

The city staff learned a lot about website design, Carle added. "EvoGov really championed us and helped us decide what we wanted. They worked really well with us and made it enjoyable to work with department heads. The ideas and suggestions our staff came up with were impressive and made my task much more rewarding."

For Erikka Martinez, Bloomfield's City Clerk, the new website offers the opportunity to view agendas and minutes of the Bloomfield City Council meetings, public notices, check out city ordinances and codes, and resolutions, apply for a business license and get information about the license, and submit a public records request.

"The City of Bloomfield's new website is more user friendly than our site has been in the past," Martinez said. "It also provides the information people are looking for. The website offers the city's staff to provide better customer service to our residents and visitors by making the site easy to navigate and enjoyable to read."

In addition to access to information on the City Clerk's page, visitors to the site may pay their utility bills on line, find job opportunities and applications, phone numbers and addresses to reserve one of the city's many parks, volunteer opportunities and discover links to other sites for additional information.

"We needed a website that showcases the positive aspects of the City of Bloomfield so we can do a better job of advertising the community to new residents, tourists and potential businesses," City Manager Eric Strahl added. "Updating the website is the first step in developing a new economic development program."

The new site – http://www.bloomfieldnm.gov – also includes profiles of city staff, photos of activities and events, information on elected officials and an overview of each city department.

"The new site is important because it shows Bloomfield has embraced new technology and is moving forward in the development of our future," Strahl added. "It shows the city understands the need for a site that is helpful and informative to those who use it."

"It also creates a fresh image of the city that will attract new residents and businesses," he said.


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