New year, new site

The town of Manlius has a new look.

Its website, townofmanlius.org, now offers easier navigation, up-to-date calendars, a sign up for news alerts, village links and meeting details.

"A lot of times people would try to find minutes and agendas," on the old version, said town clerk Allison Edsall. "If someone wasn't familiar with the website before, they struggled to find things. Now, under boards and committees, you can find [the minutes and agendas] all together."

Archived by year, meeting summaries extend as far back as 2006. The town is in the process of loading more.

"We're going as far back as we can," Edsall said.

The website also boasts a new Contact Us feature that allows residents to sign up for news alerts, police notices and information on the highway and recreation departments.

"You can sign up for one or all," Edsall said.

Google calendars are used to list events in four different categories: public hearings, departments, recreation and community. Or you can browse all events in one single calendar. If you already have your own personal Google calendar and would like to add the event onto yours, you can do so with one click. Another click and a map will pop up if you need directions.

Other features include forms that residents can complete online, print and bring in. It is hoped residents can eventually submit forms electronically but some documents will always require a personal trip to the office.

People who use the website to look up town budget details will also see improvements. The addition of url links allows more interaction with residents. For example, Edsall said, when the NYS comptroller released a new version of the Citizen's Guide to Local Budgets, the town was able to put that link on the budget web page for residents to use and interact with.

"When I [began to work on] this website, I visited other towns' and villages' sites [but] focused on New York [municipalities], Edsall said. "I pulled features that were interesting, community oriented, etc. This is a product of that research."

Edsall said she updates the website regularly, particularly the homepage message, to keep it current. She also encourages residents to contact her if they notice broken links or other errors that could make the website ineffective.

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