AUBURN — City Manager Glenn Aho told councilors Monday that $30,000 will buy the city an updated Web site that will give residents more power and better city information.

Aho is proposing to use $30,000 from the proceeds of the sale of tax-acquired properties to update Auburn’s Web site, auburnmaine.org. The city’s Web site has had the same look for a number of years, Aho said. With less staff, it has become an important way for residents to communicate with city officials, answer their own questions and pay some city fees.

“But it uses mostly 1990’s-era technology,” Aho said. “It doesn’t do what we need it to do, or what it is capable of doing.”

He and Renee Bogart, the city’s information technology director, mapped out a plan for an updated Web site.

Aho wants to simplify the site, creating a single city calendar for all events and meetings, letting residents communicate with staff easier and tracking the city’s response. It would provide links to other social networking sites and other city information.

“This would become a window for our residents, one that lets them have access to our operations,” he said

It would also provide alerts for city information — reminding residents about their next recycling day or road closures, for example — and would work with mobile phone browsers. It would also be easier for staff to update.

Aho said he hopes to bring the matter to councilors for a public vote. If they approve, the city would hire a local firm to design the Web site and would have it finished by July 2011.

But councilors were not convinced. Councilor Dan Herrick said he had yet to see a public improvement from Energov, the new municipal software suite being created for Lewiston and Auburn operations. It’s designed to tie all municipal computer operations together, linking data and making city services more efficient. It’s also supposed to provide a public link, to make it easier for residents to do city business.

“But I haven’t seen anything positive happen from that,” Herrick said.

Aho said that Energov is still being finished, but most of the improvements from it will be on the city staff side.

“The Web site is different,” he said. “It’s the window into that Energov data for our residents. We need a better Web site for them to be able to use it.”

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