New software is going to be used by the city of Newton to increase accessibility and understanding of information on the City’s web site related to City finances, projects, and demographics. The City Council has agreed, at the recommendation of City Staff, to proceed with a 3-year trial use of ClearGov Insights suite software. City Administrator Matt Muckler says several other cities use this software and staff feels it will meet a need and get more information out in a different way that more people can access. The cost is a 1-time fee of 1-thousand 800-dollars, with an additional 5-thousand 500-dollars per year. At-Large City Council Member Evelyn George has voiced some skepticism the software will be that beneficial for residents.

Muckler responsed, noting a simpler format for the information could lead to more citizen use.

George then raised a concern about misconceptions that can be made if information is not thoroughly presented.

Muckler said there are options in the software that allow City Staff to make notes and explanations when needed. The annual 5-thousand 500-dollar fee the City is required to pay each year will be divided up among the departments with 900-dollars coming from each budget for the Public Works, Community Development, Finance, Community Services, and Administration Departments. 1-thousand dollars will be taken out of the Executive Department’s budget every year.