City Web Sites Help Residents And Tourists Get Connected

"If there's a department, or any building that you're looking for, then you can find that department and what you're looking for."

Computer Training Specialist Veronica McCord took us on a guided tour through the City of Gulfport's web site . The city directory has every department from public works to emergency numbers. The web site has been up for about a year now, and it's very helpful for both residents of the city and anyone wanting to know more about the area.

"We're living in a new technology, new era and it gives that other part for people who are Internet friendly another outlet to find out what the city is doing for them," Information System Manager Paul Schroeder said.

Schroeder says the web site is in the beginning stages. He says eventually the city will add new features to make dealing with city officials even easier.

"The second phase is trying to outreach to provide better services," Schroeder said. "In a few months we'll looking at implementing a work order system."

With that system, he says you can fill out a work order for the city, like a request to fill a ditch, and then the appropriate department will respond. The site also allows residents to keep up with what's happening.

"We have the council agenda so every month they can see what's coming up and hopefully get more interested in their government," Schroeder said.

He said the site provides a snapshot and an overview of the city. It's a view the Tourism Commission is also trying to get out to the public.

"We are up 30 percent from web hits from last year at this time," Jolie Spiers with the Tourism Commission said. "It just goes to show when people are planning vacations, they want information that's constantly updated."

She says most people ask about specific events, hotel accommodations and restaurants. Some even stumble upon the site and the coast by accident.

"It broadens our market so much because people all over the place are going to get on the Internet and play around and when they get to our site," Spiers said.