Local musician Joe Perkinson entertains at the Madison Music Movement concert on Mulberry Street on Friday. The concert, the Second M3 Live event since the state’s lifting of tighter crowd restrictions recently, is targeted at reaching the lunchtime crowd and spreading the word on Madison’s growing reputation as a city for music in Indiana. (Madison Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Local musician Joe Perkinson entertains at the Madison Music Movement concert on Mulberry Street on Friday. The concert, the Second M3 Live event since the state’s lifting of tighter crowd restrictions recently, is targeted at reaching the lunchtime crowd and spreading the word on Madison’s growing reputation as a city for music in Indiana. (Madison Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison’s Board of Public Works approved a contract Thursday to hire a new company to design and host the city’s website beginning next year as the city moves to make its online information portal more flexible and less expensive to operate.

The Board approved a five-year $29,612 contract with eGov Strategies in Indianapolis to redesign the site and make it more easy to navigate, expand the city’s options for online registration and bill payments, provide a better calendar system and better utilize social media.

The city’s current contract expires in February 2021 and the existing site is in need of a major refresh that would cost almost $23,000 if Madison remained with the current provider and about $67,985 in hosting and other fees over a five-year period, said Madison Community Relations Director Hannah Fagen, who has administered the city’s website since joining Mayor Bob Courtney’s administration in January.

“The current site has a lot of limitations and there is a cost for every change,” Fagen said. “With the new site we’ll spend more money over the first year but over the five-year contract we will see a savings.”

“There’s a lot of information but it’s just not very user friendly,” said Courtney, who has utilized the website and various forms of social media extensively since taking office and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic the city has been dealing with for months.

The city had the option of a 3-year contract or a 5-year contract costing about $800 more. However, Fagen said the 5-year deal was the best value because it includes a refresh during the contract period and that alone could be a $10,000 value.

Fagen said it will take the city and EGov Strategies about six months to develop and design the new site so by signing the contract now, the site should be ready to go live and provide a smooth transition with no loss of services when the existing contract expires in February.

In other business, the Board approved a request by local Madison Music Movement organizers for a street closing in the 300 block of South Mulberry Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 26, to hold a free live concert involving local musician Joe Perkinson in the latest M3 Live Lunch event.

The outdoor event is the Second M3 Live event since Gov. Eric Holcomb partially relaxed some of Indiana’s crowd restrictions earlier this month and other events are likely to be scheduled moving forward, organizer Tony Novello said while requesting the closure.

A previous event featuring local musician Jimmy Davis in the narrow park the city created in the alley to the south of the 200 block of East Main Street drew a lunchtime crowd of about 50 with social distancing. Novello said the plan is to continue having the events and move them around the city while continuing to build on the city’s music movement.

“It was very lively and well attended. It was very exciting to see in our downtown,” said Courtney, who noted that he and his wife had attended the Davis performance. “Tammy and I stopped by there last week and I really liked it and I applaud your efforts. It was a unique experience.”