McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook website was graded a "C-" last week by Sunshine Review, a nonprofit, pro-transparency organization, that handed down a "D+" grade for the State of Nebraska in late August.
The city website, www. cityofmccook.com, was given high marks for containing elected officials and department heads contact information; archived meeting agendas, minutes, location and dates; building codes and permit applications; the most recent city budget; bids published online; and the city clerk acknowledging her role as the public information officer.
The city website was dinged for not having budgets archived for the past 3-5 years; audits for the past 3-5 years and local taxes were not disclosed; citizens could not pay taxes online; approved contract statements in excess of $10,000 were not available; and membership in government lobbying associations is not disclosed.
The city website grade fared better than the "F" grade given to both the McCook Public School and Red Willow County websites. The "D+" given Nebraska's state government website represented the lowest grade Sunshine Review has given to a state to date, out of 34 states analyzed.
City Clerk Lea Ann Doak said that some of the items listed as "bad" on the Sunshine Review analysis of the city website, available at http://sunshinereview.org, had been discussed by city staff in the past. Doak indicated that managing the volume of updates the website required was a primary concern, in order to keep it manageable on a part-time basis and avoid needing someone dedicated full-time to the website.
The McCook City Council will consider approving a contract with PayPort this evening, a Nebraska.gov program that will allow citizens the pay their city utility bills with a debit or credit card. Doak said PayPort plans to offer an online bill pay in the future, which could improve the city's website ranking further.
Doak also explained that an increasing amount of information was being made available in an electronic version, to make search and retrieval for city staff easier, but how much citizens would utilize on the city website was still in question.
Doak said she was hopeful that after the move into the new municipal facility was completed, various items such as reviewing or adding content on the city website, would be taken care of. Doak said city staff are always open to suggestions and ways they can serve the community better.
Citizens with comments or ideas pertaining to the city website should email them to; firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on the individual cities, counties, and schools can be found at the Sunshine Review website; http://sunshinereview.org