YOUNGSTOWN Web site to have auction service
Information on the site should save residents time and phone calls.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city will buy and sell items over the Internet when its new Web site debuts later this year.
The city has signed a three-year contract with LightGov, a Boardman-based technology company, to design a Web site and run the buying and selling functions.
The city will pay a one-time fee of $8,500 for creating the site and $1,000 a year to maintain it, said Mike Kraynanski, city management information systems director.
Kraynanski expects the site to be operating in about four months.
A few city departments have their own sites, like the health district and economic development, which they pay for from their own budgets. The new site will have links to all city departments and contain basic information.
The city simply didn't have the money to establish a site until now, Kraynanski said.
"This is our introduction to the Internet," he said.
Each department is expected to have contact information such as names and phone numbers, and a frequently asked questions section. Content will be up to each department.
The information should save city residents time and phone calls, Kraynanski said.
Some forms will be posted so people can download them instead of traveling to city hall to pick them up. Examples include tax forms and civil service documents.
Departments that want more on their pages, such as graphics or building plans, will have to pay for it out of their own budgets, Kraynanski said.
The city also will be plugged into a LightGov creation called egovmarkets.com, which lets governments buy and sell online. The site lets local governments auction surplus equipment such as old office machines, furniture and vehicles over the Internet, like eBay. The city can reach more people interested in buying items over the Internet more quickly, Kraynanski said.
The same goes for buying supplies.
Egovmarkets.com lets a government seek the best price for supplies using a "reverse auction." Vendors bid against one another to sell supplies to governments.
The city will start by seeking a few common items, such as office paper, to see how it goes, Kraynanski said.
The city still will use regular bidding for other items. The online auction should lead to more vendors than typical published advertisements garner, he said.
The city sought requests for proposals for Web site services and received about 20, Kraynanski said. Proposals ranged from offers of free server space to expensive sites with many functions, he said. The city also wanted a local firm to handle the work, he said.
The city chose LightGov because it offered the type of Web site the city wanted and the buying and selling options, Kraynanski said.
LightGov's founder is David Engler, who is a past Mahoning County commissioner and city councilman.
The company does work for governments around the state and understands what governments need, Kraynanski said.
The city won't yet get into what he calls "e-government," such as collecting money over the Internet. That might come in the future, he said, adding, "There's a lot of potential."