West Valley City, UT Maintains Citizen Communication with CivicEngage

West Valley City, a suburb of Salt Lake City, is the second largest city in Utah. A relatively young city with a culturally diverse population, West Valley City began as a collection of farming communities that evolved into suburbs. It’s currently one of the fastest growing communities in the state, thanks in part to an aggressive economic development team that has been successful in recruiting new business while revitalizing existing business, transit, and commerce centers.

Aaron Crim, Director of Public Relations & Digital Media, said communication and citizen engagement have been ongoing challenges for the City as it rapidly evolves. More and more, they’re looking to their website as a primary tool to bring the City together and make continued strides in these areas.

"Our overall experience has been pretty fantastic. I get asked by other cities all the time who I’m using and I always give rave reviews because we’re just as happy as could be with our website and the service we get."

– Aaron Crim, Director of Public Relations & Digital Media, West Valley City

Before CivicPlus

Around 2007, West Valley City’s website was hosted and managed in-house by staff members with limited web content skills. The site was built in the late nineties, and its look and functionality were showing signs of age. “It was basically a lot of html files in a folder,” Crim said. “There were a ton of pages. And in addition to being ugly and outdated, it was not the most reliable site. It was an awful, awful mess.” 

Following some personnel changes, the City had a decision to make. “Nobody knew how to update the site. Nobody knew how to design new pages,” he said. “So we were really at a place where we had to either bring on new staff to redesign the site internally or outsource it. I met someone from CivicPlus at a conference and it was perfect timing.”

 

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"We direct all communication to the site, so everything is all in one spot, easy to find, easy to search for. People can pick and choose what sort of information they want and find it really easily."

 Aaron Crim, Director of Public Relations & Digital Media, West Valley City

After CivicPlus

West Valley City has been with CivicPlus ever since and has been through two subsequent redesigns to keep up with the times. Crim said he loved all three designs and was pleased with the way CivicPlus guided them through the process.

“It’s one of the easier processes I’ve been involved with,” he said. “The questionnaires and the process that CivicPlus has set up makes it really easy to direct the design and content teams toward what you’re working for. By going through this process, when we launched, it was exactly what we wanted.”

West Valley City’s newest design is modern, mobile-friendly, and has served as an important tool to work toward the goals of better communication and increased engagement. “We’ve been able to do rumor control by posting the correct information on the website,” Crim said. “We direct all communication to the site, so everything is all in one spot, easy to find, easy to search for. People can pick and choose what sort of information they want and find it really easily.”

Crim said the police and fire departments are especially thrilled with the new site. “They’ve been able to do a really good job in engaging with the public by using the website to get a lot of information and input from people,” he said.

The City uses the NotifyMe feature to reach residents with targeted information and have noticed that the people who sign up for those lists tend to be very involved. “If people aren’t getting the updates they’ve signed up for, they’re very quick to let us know,” Crim said. “It’s something that our residents have come to look forward to in terms of getting information directly from us.”

Another feature West Valley City enjoys about the CivicPlus system is its overall ease of use, including a simple user interface, the ability to make immediate updates from anywhere, and modules such as Document Center and Archive Center to keep content neatly organized. “The new site is very easy to maintain,” Crim said. “The people who have access to upload and directly publish find it very easy. And the people I manage pages for are really impressed that I can come to their office and make changes with the live editor as we’re going through it. The whole user interface is fantastic.”

 

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"The new site is very easy to maintain. The people who have access to upload and directly publish find it very easy. And the people manage pages for are really impressed that I can come to their office and make changes with the live editor as we’re going through it. The whole user interface is fantastic."

 Aaron Crim, Director of Public Relations & Digital Media, West Valley City

Author
CivicPlus

CivicPlus

CivicPlus is the integrated technology platform for local government, working with over 2,500 local governments including municipalities, counties, and municipal departments. CivicPlus has been selected by Inc. Magazine as “One of the Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S.” since 2011. For more information about CivicPlus’ innovative product suite, including CivicEngage, CivicReady, CivicClerk, CivicRec, and CivicHR, visit CivicPlus.com.

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