The city of Beaufort's website has a new look, and officials hope residents will find it more informative and easier to use.
Originally set to debut this past winter, the site went live Monday. The address remains the same: www.cityofbeaufort.org.
"The last website was not easy to navigate," city Councilman Mike Sutton said. "It was not easy for the staff to load, and that's where all the information should be."
With so many projects under way, it's important that residents can log on and quickly find designs, information, data, financial details and event information, Sutton said.
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An updated website was a goal from the 2011 City Council retreat, where council members insisted on a central online location for all city information. Much of the work was done by city clerk Ivette Burgess.
The home page is cleaner, with fewer but better-organized navigation tools. A scrolling section at the top of the page offers information and links to the master-plan process, the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and city departments.
The police and fire departments' pages include the history of the departments and old photos. Financial information has been consolidated on one page. On the old site, a few wrong clicks could lead visitors to outdated financial data.
Agendas for boards and commissions, except for the Tree Board, which had no agendas available Wednesday, can be accessed back to 2003. Redevelopment Commission agendas are available back to 2009, the year the commission was created.
Links to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, the chamber's events calendar and Main Street Beaufort, USA can be found under the "Visitors" tab. A festival page provides information and links for the Gullah Festival, the Beaufort Shrimp Festival, Taste of Beaufort and the Beaufort Water Festival.
The new design and format are good, said Mayor Billy Keyserling, who said he has yet to fully explore the website. But the true test will be whether the content stays current, he said.
City manager Scott Dadson said the site will be managed more by city staff than in the past, which should lead to better, updated information that is easily accessible by the public.