The City of Plant City website has been down for weeks as it undergoes an ADA compliance overhaul.
Residents may have noticed some changes to the City of Plant City’s website.
The site has been down for approximately three weeks now as the city undergoes a virtual overhaul to bring the site into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commissioners approved a $76,800 contract with Crawford Technologies, Inc. to handle the issue and, while much work has been completed, the end is not yet in sight.
“We had ADA issues with some of the documents on our site, so we had to get them into compliance,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “Essentially, they’re having to go back through every document we have on our website and make sure it’s compliant. That’s thousands of documents and it’s a project that takes some time.”
The city received a request for accommodation to review documents, which was for an estimated 17,799 pages, and Crawford will supply the converted documents to the city as an audited and quality tested file.
McDaniel said this isn’t an issue just governments are having to deal with. Businesses and other organizations also have to be sure their sites comply, and he said ignoring the issue is the same as “sitting on a time bomb.” He said it’s an extensive process and is taking quite some time to complete. In a meeting with the city’s IT team Tuesday morning, McDaniel said they were unable to give him a timeline at that time but is certain they are “closer” to being completed.
When the site does go live, he said it will not look exactly like it did before. The City of Plant City has long had extensive documents dating back several years available at the click of a button. While everything the city legally has to have on display will be active immediately, the rest will come in phases — if at all.
“People won’t see everything they might have before,” McDaniel said. “If they had tip-toed around the website in the past, they might have stumbled upon agendas from 10 years ago. That’s not a priority for us at this time. Obviously everything that’s city record can still be accessed through a records request, but a lot of those old documents aren’t going to be lingering around the website.”
Though the city’s website has been down for weeks, residents have still have had the ability to pay bills online via the links at the bottom of the page that take them to the respective corresponding sites outside of the city network.
McDaniel said the website technically can be turned on at any time because its basic form is compliant, but none of the PDFs and documents are ready to be uploaded yet.