FARMINGTON — Selectmen have approved spending $10,700 to design a new town website and are continuing to draft a brochure promoting the community, furthering the board’s ongoing efforts to spur economic development and advertise the town.

Selectman Andrew Hufnagel said their efforts tentatively are leading toward branding the town, and he has discussed it with professionals who consult on branding towns.

“Towns across the nation are really starting to brand their towns,” he said. “We’re just not ready to take on that task yet.”

The new website will replace the current one, which doesn’t work on all browsers and sometimes crashes. Selectmen said they hope eventually to offer online bill paying and online application forms, which are incompatible with the platform of the current website.

Selectmen decided Tuesday to contract with a Washington-based company, Vitasys, to design the site over the next three to four months. The $10,700 price tag was the third-cheapest of eight bids, which ranged from $4,000 to $53,000.

Ben Greenley, of Waterville, submitted the lowest bid, at $4,000; but committee members said while they liked the idea of supporting a local company, the website wouldn’t be able to expand eventually and support features such as online bill paying.

The committee members said they selected Vitasys because it offered a product at $10,700 that was comparable to the costlier bids. They said the proposed website had a polished site design, employees were willing to train town officials through Web conferences, and the open-source software allowed the town to save money over time by performing its own maintenance and upgrades.

Because no maintenance fee would be included in the cost, Davis said, the only ongoing cost would be $200 to $300 per year for hosting services.

Selectmen also reviewed a draft of a promotional brochure geared toward encouraging business owners and residents to come to Farmington.

The brochure’s content still is being finalized, but so far it is scheduled to include a link to the new town website, a map of the area highlighting town features, notes about local history and testimonials from local residents and business owners.

The town has entered a contract to pay $3,000 for the brochure design. Town Manager Richard Davis said it will be hard to project the total cost after printing at this point in the project, but he predicted it would be less than $10,000. The money will come from a tax-increment financing district account containing around $175,000.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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