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Ford City dumps TV broadcasts from list of ways to get news out

Ford City won’t be televising its borough council meetings on Family Life TV.

“I don’t think it warrants us paying $260 a month for TV,” Councilwoman Vicki Schaub said.

Council had considered returning to televised broadcasts, as well as bringing back a newsletter to inform residents about borough issues. It has been trying to bring up to date a website that has been down for more than a year.

Ford City council meetings were last televised in August 2013. Broadcasts stopped because of a lack of sponsorship and concerns they encouraged council members to drag meetings out.

A newsletter is still a possibility, Council Vice President Jerry Miklos said. He estimated the last time the borough had one was 20 or more years ago.

“If you have newsletters out there, you’d have accurate information and it would spread all over town,” he said.

The website could do the same, officials said. But technical troubles have kept borough staff from adding new information to fordcityborough.com.

“We can’t even update it right now. It’s in deplorable condition,” Borough Manager Eden Ratliff said.

While the site lists information ranging from meeting minutes to a list of council members, all of the news was put in before a change in servers made it impossible for staff to access it.

“We’ve been working with our IT group to try to break into the website, so to speak. The server is the issue. We can’t get into the website to make changes,” Ratliff said.

Some on council have suggested starting a new website instead of updating the old one, even if it becomes accessible.

The site’s creator, Ryan Bloser, said the site’s design is out of date.

“Eleven years ago, it was state of the art. Now, it’s stone age,” he said.

Bloser is no longer in the website business, but he still hosts the site for the borough. It costs Ford City about $135 a year.

He suggested Ford City outsource the work to a contractor or have a school take on the website as a project.

“If a website is something they want to do, they have a right to tear it down as they see fit,” he said. “Its a powerful communication tool. However, it’s an investment. It’s not something you build once. It needs to be reprogrammed, redesigned and maintained.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.


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