Website seen as ‘clearing house’ for city

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

Google “Brookhaven MS” and one can find a link to ayear-and-a-half-old website about a 151-year-old city.

The site, www.brookhavenms.com, allows members of the community,visitors and potential tourists the ability to look at zoning maps,print building permit forms and privilege license applications andhave common questions answered.

“It’s a great resource for people to go to and interact with any ofthe city’s departments,” said Ward Six Alderman David Phillips.”It’s a clearing house of all things Brookhaven.”

A committee comprised of Phillips, fellow aldermen Dorsey Cameron,Shirley Estes, City Clerk Mike Jinks and Samantha Melancon, withthe Public Works Office, began constructing the website with thegoal of creating a working page that would give the people ofBrookhaven access to city hall any time, day or night. Phillipsadded that the website can be more convenient for people thanhaving to search around city hall for information.

“It saves time and it saves the hassle of finding the right personfor their answer,” Phillips said.

The information on the website is much more than zoning informationand answers to building questions, however.

The site also features links to the Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce, area schools, local media outlets, King’sDaughters Medical Center, Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin RegionalLibrary and various local organizations.

The multitude of gigabytes found on the website has helpedcontribute to its immediate success without muchadvertisement.

From Sept. 20, 2009 through Sept. 19, 2010 the website experiencednearly 15,000 visitors and the site even contributed toBrookhaven’s international popularity, receiving visits from 68countries.

While the site receives global attention, Phillips hopes that moreLincoln County residents will use the webpage, especially thecommunity’s younger generations.

“We’re looking to the people that will build the city intosomething better,” Phillips said. “We want to give them theinformation to do that.”

Jay Perkins Web Services and Melancon update the site on a regularbasis. The city’s official page costs $600 to $800 a year tomaintain, indicating the price tag for operating the site is wellunder the $3,500 allotment in the city budget.

Melancon said the website is an ongoing project and they areconstantly looking for additional information and resources to addto the page. She added that anyone with suggestions could e-mailbrookhaveninfo@brookhavenms.com.

The ability to pay the water bill online could be in the works forthe city’s site. However, there would be a $3 fee to use theservice, and Phillips is uncertain if people would be willing touse the service enough to add the bill-paying feature.

Phillips believes the website adds to the long list ofcharacteristics for the city.

“I think it gives the city a much more professional appearance topeople from out of town,” Phillips said.