LONG BEACH - A new city website should launch by the end of this year, officials said.
The City Council voted Tuesday to approve spending $212,486 to design and implement a new website. The current site, which can be seen at www.longbeach.gov, was made in 2004.
Vice Mayor Robert Garcia proposed a revamp of Long Beach's website in 2011, and council members voted in October that year to use $150,000 in oil surplus money to upgrade the site's content management system.
Since then, the city solicited public feedback in two online surveys and conducted focus groups among city employees. Officials also consulted a citizen technology advisory group.
Curtis Tani, director of technology services, said the new design will focus on streamlining and concentrating online services and upgrading search capabilities. Both issues were common complaints during the site's planning process.
Garcia envisioned the site as a "24-hour City Hall," with an interactive mapping feature that allows residents to see services near them.
"There's a lot of really great features coming that we're excited about," Garcia said.
The website will be designed by an Irvine company, Momentum Advanced Solutions, whose clients include American Express, Mercedes-Benz and Verizon.
The site's content management system will be delivered by Ektron, based in Nashua, N.H.
The estimated cost for city departments to migrate to the new site ranges between $25,000 and $50,000, a staff report said, and would be paid by each department.
Meetings broadcast expanded
The city is also going to be providing more video content on its website.
Long Beach will soon air live webcasts of council standing committee and advisory body meetings.
Council members approved a request by Councilman Patrick O'Donnell and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia to broadcast the meetings, some of which are now recorded and archived to the city's website. Council meetings have been aired live on the Internet since 2004 and aired on Long Beach's cable television network for two decades.
There is a one-time cost of $2,500 to buy technology for the broadcasts. Vendor support will cost $100 per month, the proposal says.
Gas rates to decrease
In other business Tuesday, the council voted to lower gas rates starting March 1.
The changes for residential customers will be minimal, with a typical residential bill decreasing by 2 cents, from $30.88 to $30.86, according to the Long Beach Gas and Oil Department.
Savings for larger customers would be more, saving small commercial customers about $4.84 each billing cycle, medium commercial customers $92.93 and large commercial customers $634.28, a rate analysis showed.
Long Beach's charter requires that the price charged customers by the city's gas utility be based on market rates for similar services in Southern California.
A review showed that the city's residential rates were comparable to those offered by Southern California Gas Co., the region's primary provider, according to Christopher Garner, Long Beach Gas and Oil Department director.
The difference was greater with large customers, Garner said.