DeKalb pays 50K for site redesign

The city of Geneva and village of Bensenville offer features like online payments and concern reports on their websites, which were designed by CivicPlus. DeKalb hired the company to bring the city’s website to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide features like in the websites above. 

By Satta Kendor

DeKalb is undergoing a $50,570 website renewal project — a project $30,570 over budget — to comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

First ward Alderman David Jacobson said the renewal of the city’s website has been in discussion and a priority for several years, but a push from the federal government is what is now moving things along. The Department of Justice informed the city in 2013 that its website did not comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and set a June 11, 2015, deadline for the website to meet the act’s requirements.

Additions to the website will include a keyboard event handler, which will allow people who cannot hold a mouse to scroll on the website, and a screen reader tool, which will read information from the website to people who are blind, among other things, said DeKalb management analyst Lauren Stott.

“I think that this represents a good opportunity for DeKalb to be more active on the Internet,” Stott said.

The city set aside $20,000 for the website’s renewal, but it has since signed a $50,570 agreement with CivicPlus, a company that revamps ineffective or unmaintained government websites.

The city has received many complaints about how difficult the current site is to operate and has needed a renewal for many years, said 6th ward Alderman Dave Baker.

“Well, obviously we needed to fix the website and make it more of a positive, make it more marketable than what it is now,” Baker said. “The company that made the PowerPoint presentation showing us other communities that they do websites for gave us the confidence that this company can get the job done.”

Aside from implementing Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, CivicPlus will add an event calendar and a bill paying service, among other things.

CivicPlus has revamped government websites in Elgin, Bradley and Glen Carbon, among 1,300 cities, according to the company’s website.