Smith County Website

Smith County began the process of getting a new, graphically appealing website.

On Tuesday, the Smith County Commissioners Court approved a professional services contract with California-based Vision Technology Solutions LLC to build a new website and the content management system that manages the backside of the site.

Information Technology Director Don Bell said the current website was built in-house by a programmer on staff. That programmer is looking to retire, he said.

The process of creating a new website is expected to take between four and six months, he said.

The county’s website looks simplistic, but there are complex components to it. There are over 200 pages, plus records search options and portals where residents can pay fines online.

According to the contract, the county will spend $107,768 on a new website and four years of support.

That includes $47,426 to build the site and train employees, plus $14,000 a year for support, which includes software updates, technical support and web hosting. The support fee increases by 5 percent each year, which is factored into the $107,000 figure.

In other business:

- The Court approved allowing Sheriff Larry Smith to re-hire two previous detention officers at levels 2 and 3, to match their level of experience. Smith said the two left the jail to work for the Tyler Police Department, but decided to come back to work with the county.

County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the sheriff can bring in deputies and match their paygrade to their expertise and certification levels, but that is not allowed for jail employees.

Tuesday’s decision only affected the two positions, but Moran said the county should look at that policy and allowing the sheriff to pay based on experience in the jail.

- The Court held a required public hearing on the continuation of a $5 district court records technology fee, and then adopted the fee for another year.

- A part-time animal shelter employee was approved to attend a basic county corrections course for training.

- Commissioners approved allowing the purchasing department to go out for bids to hire a designated representative for on-site sewage facilities in Smith County. The position inspects septic tank systems in the unincorporated parts of the county.

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