Online updates are needed

Hancock County officials recently announced they would be working on upgrading the county’s website to include new information and make it more user friendly.

We think that’s a great idea and thank the county for moving forward with this project. We also hope other governmental entities in our area take note.

Plans for the new website include new content, creating a media section, a new county commission calendar and a new page for the county sheriff’s department. It also will transfer existing contest.

In an age when much information is shared electronically, our local, state and national governmental entities are finding themselves coming up with new ways to get the word out about meetings, police and court activities and even special projects.

It is no longer a matter of asking people to simply call or visit the courthouse or a specific office to obtain the information they desire. Requests might come from Chester, Charleston or even California.

People expect to know what their public officials are doing and how they are being represented, and sometimes that means making sure all public information is made available in as many methods as possible.

A review of the website performed by the Sunshine Review, a non-profit organization based in Virginia, failed Hancock County for what it considered a lack of content available online, noting while contact information and tax information was there, meeting minutes, budgets, public records and zoning information, among others, were not.

Other entities in our area have been more proactive in their approach. The Hancock County Board of Education, for example, includes meeting minutes, job postings, contact information for many district officials and each school, and some of the bigger news items on its site.

The City of Weirton, also, has worked to upgrade its site with meeting minutes and even copies of the city charter and city code.

Across the river in Ohio, Jefferson County has a directory for its court cases, real estate data, links to each department and even the ability to look up dog tags.

We again thank the Hancock County Commission for taking this step and looking for ways to better serve its residents through its online services.