MIDDLETOWN – The township has the best municipal website in the state, according to a new e-government poll released by the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The Monmouth University Polling Institute and the Monmouth University Graduate Project evaluated 540 municipal websites as part of the New Jersey E-Government Study. Middletown’s site ranked No. 1 for having the best combination of content availability and ease of use. The township also earned top marks in the individual categories of ease of use, citizen interaction and content.
“I’m very proud that Middletown has earned an E-Government Award for having the best website in the state,” Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger said. “Monmouth University’s findings confirm our assertion that we’ve been on the right track in using the web as a primary tool to interact with our citizens.
“This award is a testament to Middletown’s longstanding dedication to transparency and accessibility for its residents,” said Scharfenberger who noted that a 2011 Monmouth University poll showed that municipal websites are the first place New Jerseyans go for information about their hometowns.
“I would like to thank the residents who participated in the focus group that helped finetune the website’s design and final layout. They provided valuable insight from a user’s perspective,” Township Administrator Anthony P. Mercantante said.
Last year, the township expanded its ability to connect with residents by adding Twitter and Facebook pages. Currently, more than 1,000 people follow the township on Facebook and over 800 on Twitter, the mayor said.
Adding social media to the township’s communications package comes after the entire website was revamped in 2011. The redesign was focused on further enhancing government transparency, making communication between residents and government easier, and finding needed information quickly. The website features Middletown Marvin, a web portal through which residents can make requests to township departments, and a communication center through which registered users receive alerts by email and cell phone regarding emergencies. There are currently more than 11,000 users registered with the site, the mayor said.
The website’s homepage offers navigation both by popular subject and by department, subsection navigation that helps users track their location within the site and locate related content and a central repository for forms and downloadable documents. The site also offers a local business directory and online tax payment, parking permit registrations and recreation program registration, Scharfenberger said.
Middletown’s website is www.middletownnj.org. Visitors can also find the township on Facebook at MiddletownNJ townhall and on Twitter at middletownnj.
The township cablecasts community announcements on Comcast Channel 20 and Verizon FiOs channel 26 and airs township information on its radio station located at 1620AM.
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