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Aurora, Ill., Approves Contract for New City Website

The City Council recommended a $605,242 contract with Chicago-based CityBase Inc. to develop a website officials said would be an upgrade from what the city has now, and is unique to Aurora.

Aurora, Ill._shutterstock_1116463199
(TNS) — Aurora is looking at spending more than $600,000 for a new website to last at least five years.

Aldermen on the City Council's Infrastructure and Technology Committee this week recommended a $605,242 contract with Chicago-based CityBase, Inc. to develop a website officials said would be an upgrade from what the city has now, and is unique to Aurora.

"Obviously, we don't want a standard government template," said Tony Martinez, the city's director of communications.

Aurora's current website was created in 2016, and Martinez called that "a very long time without a website redesign."

Ald. Patty Smith, 8th, a committee member, called the city's current website "clumsy" and "antiquated," and said a redesign is "long past due."

There are 19,000 pages on the current website, and Martinez said in this past April alone, there were more than 200,000 page views by more than 80,000 users.

During the pandemic, the website saw traffic increase twofold, he said. And more than 50% of people are accessing the website from a mobile device.

Martinez said people want a website that is equally accessible from all platforms — just as good on a mobile device as it is on a computer.

"What people were looking for in 2016 is different from what they are looking for now," he said.

In looking for a vendor to do the website, Martinez said the city wanted more of a partner than a vendor, one that would be able to digitize city functions, as well as promote the city.

He said people should be able to do everything by website they could do in person at City Hall. He also said the site also should "highlight what's going on in the city" for people who might want to move to Aurora, or businesses that might want to locate in the city.

The process of looking at the site began in May through July 2020, when the city used its third-party company,, to collect 50 companies that could do the job. City officials whittled that down to six.

Then the effort went on hold during the pandemic because there were other priorities, Martinez said.

In late 2021, officials started the process up again, putting out a notice to see who might still be interested. Officials then whittled the list down to three.

Martinez said the city chose CityBase because it is local, based in Chicago, and due to the amount of work the company has done. It has developed the websites for Denver and Indianapolis, and has done the finance department work for both New York and Chicago.

The company is particularly skilled at payment collection online, in part because of its enhanced security protocols, Martinez said.

He said CityBase is unique because of the way it uses research combined with surveys to do design and deployment. He said the company is "flexible" and focuses on "something that people want."

The $605,242 contract would be for five years, and would include ongoing maintenance of the site as it is developed.

Aldermen voted unanimously to recommend the contract.

"I agree we have to move forward," said Ald. Ted Mesiacos, 3rd. Smith added that "this is good news."

The contract will go before the full City Council at its May 17 Committee of the Whole meeting.

© 2022 The Beacon-News (Aurora, Ill.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.