ROCKLAND — The city has created a Web site focused on offering easy access to City Hall.
Municipal information is now just a computer mouse click away at www.ci.rockland.me.us
“So much of our information is public information,” Darren Davis, the city’s assistant fire chief, said Tuesday. He added that one of the easiest ways to provide that data is via the Internet. Davis and Dianna Leo, a firefighter and paramedic, have been vital components in getting city information online.
The Web page greets readers with the trademark view of Rockland Breakwater Light. Above the famous stretch of rock pilings are the words “Rockland, Maine,” which appears to be reflected in water below.
Also on the opening page is the city’s emblem, depicting a beehive, symbolizing an industrious community. Below both graphics, an announcement, “Budget Hearings Held Wednesday Nights at City Hall,” scrolls across the computer screen.
City Manager Richard Michaud praised the work of Davis and Leo on Tuesday, saying, “I think the city is very fortunate to have people with these interests. It’s not really a required job.”
Davis said he and Leo work on the Web page at lunchtime and during breaks.
According to Michaud, the city has also worked with SAD 5 technology coordinator Dan Bryant to build a local area network with coaxial cable. FrontierVision has also helped the city in creating a security “firewall” for the computer system so the city’s computer files cannot be accessed — only the intended Web site.
The Web site offers a list of city departments with information on each, such as telephone and fax numbers, department heads’ names and e-mail addresses. There is information on events and news.
Expansion plans are in the works, but so far the news section has included Fire Department call information, such as a Saturday garage fire at 15 Beech St. and a dryer fire Thursday at 8A Camden St.
There is visitor information and a menu for area dining.
“It’s kind of a handy little place,” Davis said. “We’re very interested in hearing, as well, what people in the city want to see on there. We want to make them happy … we work for them.”
As the Web site develops, Davis hopes to add Rockland council agendas so residents can decide whether they want to watch the meeting on the local television channel or actually attend the meeting. The Internet access saves them the trip to City Hall to pick up an agenda, he said.
The news section could be used for public notices such as planned traffic detours for public works projects.
A calendar of meetings is being refined, Davis said, indicating that there are other areas that will be improved in time.
Davis noted the city is still dealing with Year 2000 issues, particularly the city’s financial package, which will require an accounting software upgrade. The computer improvement program, which began four years ago, was a well-thought-out plan for enhancing the city’s computer system, Davis said.
It was an “effort to stop using pencils and index cards in the city of Rockland,” he said.
Eventually, residents will be able to submit various applications online — for example, job applications. Building permits are another possibility, he said.
One challenge Davis and Leo have is getting other city employees to understand all that can be done through a Web site, and having them generate news and data for the site, too.
“That’s been a struggle,” he said, encouraging other employees to provide facts or newsy tidbits about their departments that can be added to the page.