Aldermen consider possibility of Web site

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Freshman Ward Six Alderman David Phillips showed the city he’sinterested not only in thinking outside the box, but in gettingBrookhaven’s name on the map in innovative ways at Tuesday night’smeeting.

Phillips proposed the board appoint a committee to look into thepossibility of a city Web site, not only to use as a publicitysource, but also as “a working tool.”

He pointed out that things like zoning maps, city ordinances,applications for development or city jobs could be posted on theWeb site for not only city residents but also potential cityresidents to access. For people who work during the day andpossibly are not able to get by city offices to pick up things likeapplications or ordinances, it would be a way for them to get theinformation they need without having to leave their desks.

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“Citizens could do things like get building permits, or possiblyeven pay water bills online,” he said.

Phillips also pointed out that some much-needed messages that cityresidents need could be piped right into their households throughthe city’s Web site.

“It would give us the chance to educate the public on things likesolid waste and keeping the trash separate,” he said.

Mayor Bob Massengill appointed Phillips to head the committee toresearch what costs a Web site would incur and what the feasibilityis.

“Generally, the guy who suggests it gets to be in charge of it,”Massengill told him, laughing.

Phillips said he felt the exploration of the possible Internet siteneeds to be done before the budget work sessions in the fall, sothat if it’s feasible, it can be figured in for the next year’sspending.

Board members suggested checking on other towns the size ofBrookhaven to see what services they offer on their Web sites.Phillips said he’d seen that Laurel has a good site that is easy touse and allows users to access links to city government, localattractions, clubs and organizations, and, as he had suggested forBrookhaven, there is even a place to pay the water bill.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, who was also appointed to the Website committee, said he likes the idea of being able to pay citybills online.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes was also appointed to thecommittee.

In other discussion, the board noted that not all restaurants arefollowing the smoking policy that went into effect two weeks ago,and that it could be that business owners are not aware that theordinance has been activated yet. Aldermen and City Attorney JoeFernald agreed to visit restaurants that are not yet enforcing theban and remind them that it has gone into effect.

Fernald mentioned that he had spoken to one restaurant owner whosaid the smoking ban had only helped her business, and that hercustomers are happy to smoke before they come in or after theyleave. She said she has seen more clientele since the ban went intoeffect.