A new website, one that gives Walker County citizens and potential investors everything they need to know at a click of a button and is constantly being updated, is now up and running.
Joe Legge, the county's director of public relations, said he has gathered information and content for the new site since his first day on the job and began building the site last April.
Not only is the website, walkercountyga.gov, he crafted available online, it is accessible for mobile devices — something that was not allowed previously.
"It's totally responsive now, so when you go to the website it doesn't matter if you're on a computer or an iPhone, Android device, tablet — whatever," Legge said. "It will recognize what device you're on, give you a different view and access to everything on the website and not just things cherry-picked for a mobile site."
Instead of contracting the work, Legge said building the site in-house saved taxpayers about $10,000.
Content is wide-ranging and includes county meetings and videos of those meetings, budgets and financial reports, employment opportunities and news. Information concerning fire and emergency services, codes enforcement and animal shelter adoptions is being posted, with more to come.
Basically, everything you need to know is available on the site and, Legge said, if it's not there yet, it will be soon. Probate court will soon have its own section on the site, and Legge said registration for marriage licenses and gun permits will soon follow.
"I tried to set this up so that it was better organized," he said. "If a resident's looking for something, they will know exactly where to go."
Four sections — "Government," "Residents," "Discover," and "FAQ" — are found at the home page's top right
The "Government" section includes budgets and financials, departments, upcoming meetings and agendas, statistics and records.
For example, under statistics and records, a resident can find county ordinances, resolutions and open records request submissions.
Visitors to the "Residents" section can find, among other information, about the animal shelter and adoption program, the assessor's office, codes, animal control, elections, the landfill and Walker Transit, just to name a few.
There will be some duplication of listings in sections, Legge said.
"Depending on which way your brain is thinking, you're going to find it," he said.
Links to departments not under the commissioner, like Walker County Sheriff's Department and the Walker County Tax Commissioner's Office, are included.
Legge said that when researching the county's old website he noticed the most searched items related to employment opportunities, permits, animal shelter information and budgets and financials. Those items now are listed in the "Trending Topics" section.
"The calendar feature is going to be one of the big things that I hope residents find," Legge said.
While upcoming events will be listed at the bottom of the home page, residents will find a full year's calendar under the "FAQ" section.
"We are working to get all of our departments and boards that have meetings on this calendar," he said.
Outdoor recreations and attractions
In the "Discover" section, residents and visitors alike can discover the county's attractions and outdoor recreations.
In "Attractions," visitors to the site can learn about Rock City Gardens, Chickamauga Battlefield, John Ross House, historic sites, Wilderness Disc Golf and the Smith Planetarium, to name a few.
"I really wanted people who have lived here in the county for a long time to explore this site and find out something new about the county that they didn't know existed," Legge said.
Recreational hotspots are also mapped out and detailed for visitors exploring outdoor adventures like caving, hang gliding, rock climbing and other area attractions like Crockford-Pigeon Mountain, Queen City Lake and Lula Lake Land Trust.
"What we had before was just a static page (where information on the site goes up and is never updated). This ones much more interactive," Legge said. "Now, the page is going to be constantly updated."
Legge will be able to get the word out from anywhere, whether on a computer from the office or from a mobile device.
"If we are having inclement weather and I go out with our public works director and we are up on top of Lookout Mountain, I can take pictures and share that information not just on Facebook, but on our website or wherever," he said.
Legge said that he is trying to reach people through whatever means they frequently use.
"We are trying to make it the one-stop shop location for information about Walker County," Legge said. "If someone who has lived here in the county for many, many years visits this site and learns something new about their county, then I will feel like I've done a good job."