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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Tech upgrades abound in Morton

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  • The village of Morton received several technology upgrades in the recent months, some that can’t even be seen by residents.
     
    The biggest update, though, would be the new website layout.
     
    “We’ve rolled out our new website as of Oct. 3,” Superintendent of Public Works Craig Loudermilk said. “Everyone will notice a significant difference. Some of the changes with that … probably the biggest thing for me is there’s a lot of information on there for people now. It’s a lot more interactive than it was before.
     
    “From a public works perspective, our subdivision standards are on there now. They weren’t on there before. Access to all the specifications we use are on there.”
     
    Besides adding more information on village specifications, GIS/IT manager Jeff Bedeker said the website is more citizen-friendly now as well.
     
    “There’s a citizens support tab that has quick links,” he said. “There’s a contact us form and freedom of information act form. We’re basically just trying to get more information to the public.”
     
    Loudermilk said they have probably had 10 questions through the contact us form already, which get sent off to the appropriate person.
     
    The updated site also features current event updates on area happenings, as well as links to the Chamber of Commerce and Morton Magnet websites.
     
    YouTube videos are also featured on the website of all the meetings that take place in the village.
     
    Along with the new website, Bedeker said that a new mobile app is coming soon that Online Innovative Creations is working on for the village, along with eAlerts letting the public know of events going on in the village.
     
    “A little bit farther down the road there will be a web-based GIS application where people will be able to use our mapping data and interact with it,” Bedeker said. “Right now, we just have PDF maps  to look at.”
     
    Loudermilk added that the application will be well-used by developers, realtors, engineers and contractors, and should be out next year.
     
    Another addition eventually coming to the website is a new credit card system, which treasurer/comptroller Wendy Ferrill expects to be active by the end of December.
     
    “This will allow utility customers to receive their bill electronically,” Ferrill said. “They will have to create an account and will be notified when the new bill is available via email. They will have to log into their account to see the bill and can pay by credit card at that same time if they so choose. We will begin offering credit cards to utility customers and then open it up for ambulance payments and zoning violations/permit fees.”
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    From Oct. 3-31, the new site had 4,304 visits, with 3,189 unique visitors. Over 25,000 pages were viewed.

    Other tech upgrades
     
    Besides the website, a few other upgrades have been rolled out throughout the village that residents may not be aware of.
     
    “We just recently did another project where we migrated our email to the Microsoft Exchange server,” Bedeker said.
     
    He said the update took two parts to get the server up and running and get all village employees switched over, but all email is now done in-house.
     
    In addition, Ferrill added that the village recently purchased new permit software to use.
     
    “Currently, all permits and zoning violations are handled manually,” she said. “The new system will allow us to track these in the system and will tie into our accounting system. We expect this to lessen the time spent writing out permits and tracking zoning violations. We hope this makes Roger (Spangler’s) job run more smoothly.
     
    A new GPS base station was also recently added to the village hall building, and will be used in conjunction with the Auto-CAD Civic 3D program to help with virtual builds around the city.
     
    “We plan to use that a lot in-house as far as data collection,” Becker said.
     
    Becker also added that the village has been upgrading their infrastructure lines to fiber optics as well.
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