CROTHERSVILLE — Typing in “crothersville.net” in a web browser will take you to the town of Crothersville’s website.
If you do a Google search for “Crothersville” or “town of Crothersville,” however, the page that shows up under the crothersville.net address is for an online pharmacy website.
More than a year ago, the town’s website was hacked.
Since then, Crothersville Town Council member Jamy Greathouse has been working to fix the issue. During a recent teleconference meeting with the state’s web services through in.gov, he found a solution.
The town would provide information and photos it wants on the website, and the state would do the buildout with up to 25 pages, offer a handful of trouble tickets and teach town officials how to manage the site, all at a cost of $1,200 a year.
“If you’ve ever looked into someone doing webmaster services and paying for it with the securities that the Indiana government’s websites are getting covered with, it is well in excess of $1,200 a year — $1,200 is usually a month for a lot of these companies,” Greathouse told the council during a recent meeting.
After submitting a ticket for a big change to the site, he said the state has a 24- to 48-hour turnaround.
“We would do webinars with them to learn how to administer, so possibly eventually, we would feel comfortable enough we wouldn’t need to continue to pay the $1,200 a year. We would just continue to keep it up,” he said, noting the administrator screen looks similar to PowerPoint. “There’s no writing code. … It’s relatively pretty simple.”
After some discussion, the council unanimously approved to move forward with in.gov to create the town’s new website, which would have the address of crothersville.in.gov.
Greathouse said the buildout will take three to five months.
The state offers two templates for municipality websites — one with the tool bar across the top and the other with the tool bar on the left side.
The town would choose what it wants for those tabs, which could include town history, town departments, town hall information, town council information, town ordinances, applications, links and more. It also would choose what to include on the site, including news and events and a utility bill pay option.
“Once the buildout is done and we choose everything we want to put on there, it will kind of drive itself,” Greathouse said.
Administrators would be able to see how many people have viewed the page and from where they are viewing it.
Both templates also feature Google maps, in.gov links and the ability to change the settings at the bottom of the page.
“It is 508 compliant and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, so it has the ability to translate, make the text larger and read the text out loud to the user,” Greathouse said. “Those are all provided so you can speak, translate into a foreign language and enlarge your text.”
If the town chooses to manage the website on its own down the road, Greathouse said the domain will belong to the town, and they won’t have to pay the yearly fee.
“Now the downside of that is once they stop doing that, it’s also the cybersecurity side of it that we would have to look at maintaining ourselves and pricing out whether it would be more than that $1,200 to keep that web address from getting hijacked by another pharmacy company,” he said.
Councilwoman Terry Richey said using one of the new templates would look really nice, and Councilman Chad Wilson said the website would look professional.
“I personally sometimes will go in and search local towns in our area to see what they are doing and what their page looks like. I actually do like this,” Wilson said.
“It has a lot of upsides, and I think the layouts that the state’s using for these two different templates are really nice looking,” Greathouse said.
The council also is looking into an express messaging service that people could sign up for on the website to receive notifications for things like road closures, water outages, boil water advisories, weather alerts and other emergencies. The notifications could go to a person’s cellphone or landline.
Greathouse said the annual subscription for the town is $2,250, and there’s a one-time $1,000 implementation and setup fee for a total of $3,250. Adding geofencing would be an additional $1,500 a year to get certification through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“If we had something going on, we could actually draw a map or set a radius of 2 miles from the center of Crothersville, and any mobile user that drives through that area would receive that notification,” Greathouse said in explaining geofencing.
“I don’t necessarily know if we would use the geofencing portion of it enough to justify an extra $1,500 a year, but the other side of it, I do believe for long term, you’re looking at $2,250 a year something that would be a great benefit to the community to be able to get those notifications,” he said.
There also would be an option for a town official to click one button to send a notification through the messaging service and post it on the town’s Facebook page.
Utility Director Mason Boicourt said that would be beneficial.
“People want information and they want it right now,” he said.
The council received two options for the messaging service and tabled the decision until the Oct. 5 meeting.