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City, County websites get new look

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'It's been a working relationship between the City and County.'

By Calen McKinney

 

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Tony Smith has turned his love for computers into a career.

From helping City and County department officials with computer problems to updating web pages, Smith's duties often don't end when the Taylor County Courthouse closes at 4:30 p.m.

"I'm on call after that," he said. "If the computer breaks down at the jail, I'll come running."

Smith became the County's IT specialist in July. His position is shared between City and County government, with his office in the basement of the Taylor County Courthouse.

"Which makes sense," Smith said. "They can both utilize me."

Smith is no stranger to City and County government. He previously provided technical support for government computers on an as-needed basis.

"The need grew," Smith said. "It was time for a full-time [employee]."

After Campbellsville City Council members and Taylor County magistrates agreed to create the position, applications were sought and an agreement was reached in June as to the salary for the position.

According to the agreement, Smith receives a $40,000 annual salary and $17,282 in benefits. The City pays 40 percent of the expense, or $22,912.80, and the County pays the remaining 60 percent, or $34,369.20.

Smith previously owned a computer services business, which he says has been phased out as part of his agreement to work for the City and County. He also worked in banking, finance and insurance and has a computer information degree from Western Kentucky University.

"I've always had a love for computers," he said. "It just comes natural."

Now, Smith spends his days maintaining about 100 computers for various government departments, including Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers' and Campbellsville Mayor Brenda Allen's offices, Taylor County Sheriff John Shipp's office, the Taylor County Detention Center, the Taylor County Animal Shelter, the County Road Department, the Campbellsville Water Co., the Taylor County Airport, City Hall, the Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911 Center, Campbellsville/Taylor County fire departments and Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue.

Smith also helps in the Taylor County PVA and Taylor County Clerk's offices, though most of those computers are maintained by the state.

He said each office has specialized computer software relating to the duties of the office that he must maintain.

"To me, it's a puzzle that I try to solve," he said.

Smith's duties also include installing anti-virus software and troubleshooting to making sure each computer has the same version of software and that employees know how to use the software. He also orders equipment.

Smith says he is enjoying his position.

"It seems like others are glad I'm here," he said.

Smith keeps a log of his work and submits reports, complete with a pie chart to illustrate how much of his time was devoted to the City and County. Those reports are given to council members and magistrates each month.

And Smith says he plans to implement a rotation system to ensure computers aren't outdated and that each employee who needs one has it.

"There's nobody with extra computers," he said. "They're getting by with what they can. They make do and make it last."

Another part of Smith's duties is to maintain the City and County's website.

The City and County each has its own web address, he said, but they lead to the same site. The websites are www.campbellsville.us and www.taylorcounty.us.

He said the site was created many years ago, but not much information was posted. His goal is to make as much information available as possible concerning both government entities.

The site contains information about how City and County government works, some history of Campbellsville/Taylor County and local links.

Smith says he is working to get Fiscal Court and City Council agendas posted online and in a calendar of events. He is also in the process of posting ordinances online, as well as how to contact local officials.

City and County government each have their own sections on the site, he said, to help people know about upcoming meetings and the duties of elected positions.

"We want the public to know they are welcome to come," he said. "We also want people from the outside to show them what Taylor County has to offer."

Also posted is information about renting the Community Center and forms relating to occupational taxes.

"My main thing is, I hope people will use it," he said.

In the long run, he said, he believes the IT specialist position will save money for the City and County.

Having a full-time person in the position means having someone available whenever there is a problem, he said, which is valuable.

"It just fits," he said. "I'm tickled to death to be here. I like what I'm doing. I feel like I'm doing a good service for the City and County."

And Allen and Rogers agree.

"It's been good for us," Rogers said. "It's been a working relationship between the City and County."

Rogers said Smith was able to assist when Shipp's computers went down when tax bills were being paid.

"He went right there to get it going," Rogers said.

Allen says having Smith available to help at a moment's notice has been great.

"He has been wonderful," she said.

She said City Hall operates electronically, with not many records kept by hand any more.

Taylor County Treasurer Melissa Williams says Smith is providing services that the County has never had before, such as someone to update the website. She said she hopes to have the County's budget online soon.

Though Allen and Rogers say they can't determine how much having Smith has saved the City and County, they agree the IT specialist position has done just that.

"It has been a savings," Rogers said. "This has been a win-win situation for everybody."

Before hiring Smith, Allen said, the City would have called him and waited for him to be available. Now, he's only a phone call away, which saves time and money.

Smith says he welcomes any suggestions to the City and County website. Contact him by e-mail at itsupport@taylorcounty.us.

"We want feedback," he said. "[We want to know], what would they like to see."