The town of New Paltz web site. Wow.
How many years ago was it revamped? Not many. It was created in Joomla, a hard-to-learn system that no town employee ever really mastered, and even before it was hacked it was woefully out of date.
Now there are plans to spend something like $6,500 to make a site in Drupal, another system that, like Joomla, can be made to do anything, unless the thing you want it to do is be easy to update without having to relearn a lot of complex steps every time.
I worked on a Drupal site, and because I was paid to do it, I learned how, but it was hard for the non-techie. I was once talked into allowing my own page be written in Joomla when I really wanted WordPress, and it was so ridiculously complex that I mostly abandoned it because it took me over an hour to post anything. Kind of like the state of the town's site -- no one had the time or patience to post content.
Our supervisor found a company that specializes in municipal web sites, and has agreed to spend that money, plus a handsome amount for annual maintenance.
Meanwhile, the supervisors of Rosendale (already complete) and Marbletown are using a company based in Bloomingburg that's charging about $2,500 to make a town site that has a near-zero learning curve when it comes to adding new content. And no annual maintenance fees, just a modest hosting fee, which the town could elect to pay to someone else, but will have to pay regardless.
I believe our supervisor, and her predecessor, failed to engage in a test of "what is it like to change a page or add a new one?" Web designers, specialists as they are, invariably underestimate the complexity because they do this stuff every day. No one ever asks, for example, a deputy town clerk or clerical assistant in the building department to spend a day trying to update the thing -- these people tend to be involved in the layout and collection of the information, which is very important, but the ongoing work is even more so.
It's not my intent to use this as a way to trash the supervisor -- I think it's a grave error, but one that many people make because they do not understand the many layers of the process. It's unfortunate that she decided to spend so much more money than our neighbors to get a site that will likely be too hard to use for most employees, but I really don't think it was vindictive on her part, or manipulative on the part of the developer. But I do not expect the newest, overpriced version of the web site to do much better than its prior incarnation.
When it comes to sites which must be updated by busy people for whom complex computer skills are not the priority, it's best to keep things simple. This site will surely look snazzy and may well be easy to navigate, but I predict that updating it will soon become lost knowledge, kept only by the developer, and we will not see very much in the way of current information.
Is it too late to find another option?
Edit: according to the comment by user Josh, I reversed things. The old site was written in Joomla, the new will be in Drupal; my original text switched the two. I have corrected the error, which was caused by trying to keep track of two hard-to-use platforms with similar-sounding names.