Fairfield launches 'user-friendly' redesign for town website
Want to report a pot hole in town? What if you need a form to request a copy of your birth certificate or to make a complaint about a blighted property in town? You can now do all those things, and more, with Fairfield's newly redesigned website, which went online over the weekend.
Found at www.fairfieldct.org -- the web address for the previous website -- the new website is touted as more user friendly and provides access to forms and applications for various municipal services; links to state agency websites to do things like register to vote or apply for a fishing license.
The site also features a new Citizen Service Request system, which allows people to file questions and suggestions about town government directly to officials.
The home page lists news and events, like this week's town spelling bee and the 375th anniversary celebration, as well as calendars for town boards and commissions. Visitors to the website can look up meeting agendas and minutes, or sign up for CodeRED notifications in the event of local emergencies.
A click on the Parking Authority allows users to apply online for a local train station parking permit for the Southport and downtown Fairfield stations, monitor the status of the wait list, get a form to appeal a parking ticket, or pay day parking fees at the rail depots online.
On the Town Clerk's page, there are forms for copies of marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, and a link to look at records online.
The form to file a blight complaint can be found on the Building Department's page, though, like many of the services provided through the Town Clerk's office, the form cannot be filled out online, but must be downloaded and mailed or brought to the department.
On the homepage are tabs for general information about Fairfield, the town's government, departments and services, businesses and public safety.
The Citizen Service Request capability is one of the highlights of the redesigned website, said Kathleen Griffin, constituent concerns coordinator in the first selectman's office. Griffin and Merry Mao, the town webmaster, worked together with Qsend, a Waterbury firm, on the project.
"That's where people can communicate with us," Griffin said, submitting requests for pothole or curb repairs, or reporting issues like graffiti or litter. "There's a whole drop-down menu, and they can attach a photo."
Residents using the Citizen Service Request system will be sent an email informing them when the issue has been resolved or explaining why it can't be. The reporting system has been in place and used internally for about six months, Griffin said, allowing the town to build a data base.
In addition to each municipal department having its own page on the website, boards and commissions do as well, she said. On those pages, panels provide meeting agendas and minutes, and can upload documents for the public. Residents can also sign up for an RSS feed for new content on the different pages.
"Each department can now better communicate with the public and each other," Griffin said.
The website's new design, she said, is not only more user friendly, but also more attractive.
"So far, we haven't found any substantial issues," Griffin said with the redesign. "I'm sure there will be tweaks. Hopefully, we've built something that can grow."