July 27, 2011 12:59:00 PM
The Oktibbeha County website will soon be upgraded to a fully interactive, virtual courthouse.
Through a strategic plan partnership between the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District and Mississippi State University-based National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, Oktibbeha County residents will be able to access everything from land records, tax information and voting instructions electronically.
GTPDD executive director Rudy Johnson said updating the county website has been an issue for 12 years, but cost and ever-changing technology halted previous attempts to do so.
"As a community and elected officials, we''ve got to get the technology people want. No one wants to walk in to an office anymore; people want to handle business online," Johnson said, during a meeting of county officials on Tuesday, at the GTPDD office.
Through its community service mission, NSPARC has done strategic plans for multiple counties in Mississippi, the Mississippi Workforce Investment Board and global entities.
The new website and strategic plan comes free of charge for the county.
NSPARC''s first step in assisting the county with a strategic plan -- a long-term plan for where, when and how to improve the county -- was to improve its web presence.
The current county website isn''t comprehensive and doesn''t provide the depth of information available to residents, Domenico Parisi, director of NSPARC, said.
"We want to make sure people will be in a one-stop portal when they visit the site," Parisi said.
GTPDD and NSPARC, along with county supervisors and elected officials, met Tuesday to view a prototype for the website and exchange ideas for how each department can use the site to better serve residents.
Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Britt suggested adding options that would send residents emergency alerts to cellphones and live updates of detours due to road work.
Chancery Clerk Monica Banks recommended PayPal be incorporated for tax payments. She would also like to see land records and delinquent taxes, which would include an online calculator, added to the new site.
"The archive we have for deeds and mortgages goes back to 1978," said Banks, whose office has its own website, "so that information is ready to go. I would love to be under one umbrella."
GTPDD geographic information systems manager Toby Sanford, who recently oversaw county redistricting and address changes, controls the spatial data that could give the new site its most interactive feature.
Residents will be able to enter their address and immediately know their voting district, school district and district supervisor. The interactive county map would include popular landmarks, similar to Google Maps.
"We have a wealth of GIS information available," Sanford said. "We have information for each structure."
In addition to improving the functionality of the county website, a newer, more attractive site will also attract more future developers, Parisi said.
"This is a strategy," he added. "The website was obviously the most logical place to start."
County supervisors and department managers will hold additional meetings with NSPARC to iron out details and further brainstorm about the site.
cloudleonhart commented at 7/27/2011 2:17:00 PM:
Omg y wud u wanna hav a virtual cortroom i dunno bout u but I wud want a real judg on my cases lol an how dus in spark kno how to make vituals like judges cuz i went 2 there web site an dey dont even make robots i dont get it
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