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Hall County website redesign to cost $78,000
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners discussed proposed changes to the business license code Monday, but concerns remain and adoption of the changes is likely weeks away.

The proposed changes are meant to streamline the collection of fees and make businesses more compliant.

They include revising the grace period for late payments, requiring all businesses to be licensed before opening, increasing the fee for criminal background checks, and requiring businesses to show proof of the number of workers they employ.

It was this last change that caught the ire of some officials.

Business License Director Susan Rector said it was commonplace for businesses to underreport the number of employees they have to save on permitting and licensing costs.

So to verify this number, Rector has proposed requiring businesses file an IRS Form 941 with the county.

But several commissioners expressed a desire to find another way to obtain this information because the form typically details salaries of employees, and the information could become public record.

“I can’t support that,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

County administrator Randy Knighton said officials would look for alternatives and return for a discussion with the board in the coming weeks.

Joshua Silavent

In recent weeks, Hall County unveiled a new logo and slogan as part of a rebranding and marketing campaign.

Now, officials are pressing forward on the next stage, preparing to redesign the government website.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is expected to award a $78,000 contract when it meets Thursday to Civic Plus of Manhattan, Kan., for the redesign. About $100,000 had been budgeted.

Civic Plus has designed websites for Athens-Clarke County, Lowndes County and Glynn County, among others.

As stipulated in the contract, the company will provide technology upgrades and site maintenance at no added cost; will provide training to government employees on how to navigate the new site; will build a mobile app for the site; and will redesign it again in four years.

County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said the redesign is aimed at making the website more user-friendly, as well as updating information and resource listings. The redesign will incorporate the colors and theme of the new logo and slogan.

The redesign will include features such as “mega-menu,” a one-click stop for access to any information available. It will also include advanced bill-paying options, as well as the ability to sign up for sports leagues and other events.

As more and more Americans do business on the Web, Crumley said it was imperative that local governments provide the resources to contribute to this activity.

County officials said they hoped to get the redesigned website up and running by early 2015 at the latest.

“We know that the world is changing,” Crumley said, adding the county needs to change with it.