The Bel Air Town Commissioners voted unanimously at their meeting Monday night to approve a new website for Bel Air .
The new $20,079 website is set to roll out sometime in early 2014, Michael L. Krantz, Bel Air's director of administration, said.
"The updates will revitalize our town website," Krantz said. "It will increase our presence and increase the accessibility of our services."
The Town of Bel Air will switch from its current host and web developer - THUD Interactive, a Bel-Air based company owned by Frank Memmo - to CivicPlus, which specializes in web design and content management for municipalities and governments.
Funding for the new website will be taken from the town's technology budget for the 2014 fiscal year along with a portion from the 2012 and 2013 budgets. Krantz said Bel Air has $30,000 set aside for the website design and new host contract.
The initial re-design, set up and hosting will cost the town $20,070 for the first year. The town will pay $4,039 for every subsequent year on a year-to-year contract.
Krantz said the town will be "piggy backing" on a Caroline County contract with CivicPlus, which was signed in September.
"The contract will ensure fair pricing and services without having to re-do the bidding process," Krantz said.
Krantz said the new website will be more "robust and user-friendly." He said it will include upgrades such as an agenda center, calendar, business development center and the possibility for an integrated social media component.
Under the contract, CivicPlus will provide around-the-clock user support and maintenance apps and modules.
Town Commissioner Susan Burdette said she had issues with the town's website as recently as Sunday night.
"I was trying to download the agenda for tonight's meeting and I couldn't gain access," Burdette said.
Town Commissioner Robert M. Preston said he was impressed with the presentation of services CivicPlus showed during a recent demonstration.
"It was very, very impressive to see it," Preston said.
Robert Reier, vice chair of the town commissioners, said he wanted to recognize the current web host for helping establish a web presence for the town.
"I want to thank them for all of their efforts," Reier said. "Before them, our web presence was practically non-existent."
The town commissioners also made the following announcements during the meeting:
The Bel Air Police Department will host its annual Child Safety Fair on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Shamrock Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Bel Air Film Festival runs Oct. 18 to 20. The cost is $5 per person, which includes a box of popcorn and a free drink.
Residents were also encouraged to participate in the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Oktoberfest, which has been rescheduled to the weekend of Oct. 25 to 27. The Town of Bel Air will be featured on Friday.