Howell had the county's most "citizen-centric" website, according to a panel of graduate students and their professors at Monmouth University, who presented the township with an award at an April 28 ceremony.
Awards were given out to several municipalities – Colts Neck took the top honors for best overall municipal site – at a presentation organized by Monmouth's Public Policy graduate program.
A team of graduate students surveyed more than 100 discrete pieces of information and online activities that were identified as important for government website design. Importance was determined by applying best practices of e-government research, integrating examples from award-winning websites from communities in and outside of the state of New Jersey. The team also used items identified as important by New Jerseyans in a recent Monmouth University poll, according to Kathryn Kloby, the chair of the Public Policy program.
"I have a very supportive mayor and council that really pushes for citizen interaction, and one of our big goals for this year is to make sure we include a lot more interactivity with our citizens," said Township Manager Helene Schlegel as she accepted the award for most citizen-centric site. Howell also took the prize for most interactive website, which it shared with Red Bank.
"There's a lot of bad information out there, as municipalities know, on blogs and other places," Schlegel, a graduate of the Public Policy program, said. "So what we're doing is driving people to our official website for good information."
The township's website can be found here.