Richland County has a new website (richlandcountyoh.gov) that gives residents better access to more information and services. On Thursday, Matt Hill of the County Auditor’s IT department gave county commissioners a preview of the site, which went live July 1 under a three-year contract with EvoGov of Parker, Colorado, at cost of $9,600 per year.
Hill said the county launched its first website in the 1990s which was operated at the courthouse, went to Revize from Troy, Michigan, several years ago and recently contracted with EvoGov because the company has features the IT department loved.
“There were things we wanted to do with the old website, but we couldn’t because the company couldn’t,” he explained.
Hill said the upgraded site is or will be able to receive RFPs and bids from potential service providers, automatically closing the bidding period at the prescribed time and sending bids to the relevant department. . It also has the ability to post online job applications and county dog shelter adoption applications.
The website includes links to Zoom meetings
Other new features include Zoom meeting links, past meeting uploads, a job opportunities page with job descriptions that automatically exit the site after the application deadline, a county alerts page , requests for information and public records and an opportunity for departments to log in and have their pages edited and even post messages, announcements and news articles.
“So when Ohio State beat Notre Dame the other night, Tony could have done a news story about how sad he was,” Hill jokingly told commissioner Tony Vero. “That was kind of the whole point of this business. Everything is interactive with them.
Hill said the county’s website will include a link to departments that have their separate sites, such as the Clerk of Courts and the County Engineer. The county site will also highlight the most used pages with “tiles” based on information from Google Analytics.
“Some departments are putting everything in place. Some departments say ‘call us’ so we’re kind of random on departments,” Hill said. “We’ll move that in about six to eight months once we get some very good data on this new website.”
The county’s website currently receives 20,000 to 50,000 hits per month, with Auditor links being the most viewed, followed by the “Who’s in Jail” link. Hill pointed out that website usage fluctuates seasonally, with numbers “flattening” in November and December and increasing with the Auditor’s and Treasurer’s pages during property tax season.
Hill also wants new photos from county officials because most have not been altered for at least four years. The photos will go with a new directory of elected officials, which will include information such as phone numbers, other contact information and their term expiration dates.
Vero suggested the county hire a professional photographer so the photos are more consistent.
County employees will pay a higher health insurance premium
Commissioners also met Thursday with Director of Human Resources Kelly Christiansen and Central Services Administrator Rachael Troyer to discuss health insurance costs and how to award a rate increase to members for next year. The board learned last week that the County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio (CEBCO), which administers the county’s program, would increase rates by 6.7% in 2023.
Vero said the increase is expected to cost the county general fund $250,000 to $260,000 in the insurance premium line item out of the $3.86 million expected to be spent this year. This compares to $4.12 million in 2021, $3.45 in 2020, and $3.29 in 2019.
Vero said that while there have been no rate increases or small hikes in recent years, overall costs have increased because more people are enrolled in the health insurance program. He said the total cost is expected to drop this year as 20 fewer people are registered compared to 2021.
After a brief discussion, the commissioners voted to increase the employees’ share of the bonus up to caps included in union contracts, unless the amount fell below the cap. Limits vary from $5 to $8 per month for certain union contracts. Unionized employees of the county engineer’s office pay 10% of the premium while other contracts do not provide for any increase greater than others.
Christiansen pointed out that the $5 cap has been in labor contracts for a long time.
“It started at $5 and stayed at five with the exception of JFS (Job and Family Services), so hopefully it’s about time,” she said.
Christiansen said she would discuss the next round of union negotiations with the commissioners during the executive session next week.