When a house or car is so far gone and so pathetic that it seems unsalvagable, the Extreme Makeover Team shows up and saves the day. The Town of Chapel Hill website, which may be been fine back in the day if that day was pre-1995, just “won” an extreme web Makeover. The extreme team from Civic Plus of Kansas selected the Town site over more than 130 other municipal government entries, according to the Civic Plus website.

As a part of the remake, Civic Plus will also host the Town’s website, provide training, and more.

“We are thrilled to receive this opportunity to better serve our citizens. The new web site will have a lot of features to help users find information quickly and offer more ways to interact with local government.”

Bob Avery
IT Director
Town of Chapel Hill, NC

Note: The Chapel Hill Public Library has already done its own extreme makeover on its own inititiative. There is more to be done to integrate the catalog systems, but it looks great! (I’m on the Library Board of Trustees, but the Library took the lead and managed all the work on the site. We, Trustees, encouraged and suggested only.)

There are questions here though. The award for the Town looks like a two year lock-in to a proprietary technology set hosted in Kansas which could result in a difficult migration to any other system later. Hosting public information off-site and out of state means giving up ownership of the Town’s information and although there is CMS style control, ultimately the Town loses control of their own information flow and presentation.

But potentially the worst part of the deal is that the Town will now be two years away from getting to a more integrated information technology infrastructure with parts of their information in Kansas and parts in various departments. The workflow needed to make the town work well will be difficult to manage and to migrate.

Tell me where I’m wrong or what I’ve left out.