DORA – The Dora City Council agreed Thursday to pay Jeffery Winborne of Jasper to design a new website for the city for $1,000, with a $100 monthly fee for continued maintenance. 

The arrangement was made as the websites for the city and for Horse Creek Golf Course were created and maintained by the late Rick Watson, a writer for the Daily Mountain Eagle who died suddenly a year ago this month. 

Dora Mayor Randy Stephens said Watson did not have passwords written down, and that Watson had also paid the domain and hosting fees for the city. With his death, the websites became static as officials had no way to get into the sites. 

“So we’ve been dead in the water for about a year now,” he said, later adding, “He paid the domain fees and hosting fees, and we didn’t have to worry about it. He took care of all that. But obviously we found out that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and (Watson) just wasn’t planning on that.” 

Winborne, who is doing the work as an individual, currently also works at the Daily Mountain Eagle as its new media coordinator, helping with its website, social media, video and podcast products. Winborne had a hand in work that was recently honored by the Alabama Press Association’s newspaper contest, which resulted in 17 awards for the newspaper.

Stephens said he met with Winborne a couple of times on building a new web page and maintaining it, and the hosting fees will be paid by the city, under its name. “So if, God forbid, something happened to Jeffery, we would not be in this situation again,” he said. 

He also said the city discovered a way Winborne did not have to start completely from scratch with a new domain. 

“When Rick passed, (his widow) Jilda did not have access to this domain,” he said. “The domain is the cityofdora.com. So Jeffery was basically going to redo it and just build a whole brand new site and call it doracity or something. He found one that wasn’t being used.” 

However, officials got with Sumiton City Clerk Nina Absher, as Watson had that city’s accounts, too, he said. 

“Nina and Jilda had worked together, and Nina knew how to go to wherever they were registered before, and Jeffery was able to get that same domain and get it switched over to another host,” he said. “So we will have the same website address but it will be hosted by a different place now. It’s going to be a better thing all the way around.” 

Winborne has already started on some designs and has had some good ideas, Stephens said. 

“He’s willing to build us a page for $1,000 and then charge a monthly fee of $100 a month to manage the pages,” he said. After comparing with others, the mayor said he feels the rate is fair. 

Winborne said Horse Creek Golf Course’s website would be set up once the city website is up and running. “I figured the primary concern would be to get the city’s website up” and then link to a website for the golf course, he told the council. 

Stephens said Winborne will use GoDaddy.com for the websites, and will update material Watson posted in 2012, including new photos and graphics. 

“What I would like to do, and what we started out doing, is after every meeting we post the minutes of that meeting online, and then any ordinances we have online,” Stephens said. “Any resolutions that we have will be online. Any important applications or forms that people need, you could download them and have them filled out before they come up here.” That would include job application forms. 

General information on various departments, including police and fire, would be included, allowing them to meet their police and fire chiefs, as well as the mayor, the council members and the city clerk. The city’s history will be detailed. 

A link will be on to connect to Dora Utilities, so people can pay their utility bills, he said. Also, once the city’s new credit card machine is set up to take payment for fines, people can use the website to pay tickets and fines to the municipal court, he said, adding it is “unlimited” what the city could use the site for. 

“If I could say, the website’s main purpose would be to get our brand out there, to market the city,” Stephens said. “So if someone is looking to do a little research on the City of Dora for possible business or maybe to relocate to here, they could find out some information. At the same time, the local citizens who are not able to come to the meetings or don’t want to come to the meetings can pull it up and get a copy of the minutes for every meeting, and any ordinances we may have passed.”  

Councilman Norman Holt moved for the work, saying it would put the city “in the 21st Century.” 

Councilmen George Sides Jr., Chris Edwards and Gary Thomas were absent at the meeting, leaving four council members and the mayor. 

Asked by Councilman Hezekiah Walker after the vote about how long the work would take, Winborne said the basic infrastructure of the website is built. He is currently working to have the cityofdora.com domain name transferred from Watson’s old account. 

“I should have access to that within the next four days,” he said. “At that point, it is strictly getting everything from you guys as far as updated pictures and what information you want on it. I couldn’t see any reason where it would take longer than 10 days to get everything gathered and we could have it up and going.” 

Stephens noted Winborne has asked for updated photos of the mayor and council, and that he will take those photos the night of the next meeting on July 22. 

The mayor asked the council to think on what they wanted to add to the website, whether it was a calendar of events and holidays.