Shelby County, Ala., and five cities were announced as the grand prize winners of the 2011-2012 Extreme Website Makeover Contest on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The contest was held by website designer CivicPlus to help city and county governments in need of a website upgrade.

Along with Shelby County, the cities of Richfield, Wis.; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Durango, Colo.; Lima, Ohio; and Banff, Alberta in Canada were among the grand prize winners that will receive a CivicPlus Premium Website Package featuring graphic design, interactive modules, such as Citizen Request Tracker and Community Voice, secure hosting and 24/7 customer support. A total of nine cities and counties across North America will receive upgraded websites as a result of the contest.

Council Bluffs decided to redesign its website last year, but was forced to use funding originally intended for its website instead on flood pumps and to build levees after a 500-year flood damaged a large part of the city. Costs to repair damage caused by the flood reached more than $11.6 million.

In Lima’s case, the city’s website was overdue for a website upgrade. “Our Web page needs a new, fresh design in order for our city’s presence to stand out in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Lima’s IT Director Gary Wurst. “At this point, our Web page is stagnant and possibly hurting how people view our community.”

Contest winners were selected from more than 150 entries submitted by cities and counties throughout North America. The community need and age of a city or county’s current website were part of the selection criteria. According to CivicPlus, each city and county will see between $25,000 and $30,000 in savings and a two-year waiver of monthly maintenance fees.

Among the 2011 Extreme Website Makeover winners pending final contract completion include Norfolk, Va.; Smithtown, N.Y.; and Colton, Calif.