Middletown Township’s has the best municipal website in the State of New Jersey by a Monmouth University study performed by the school’s Polling Institute and its Graduate Program in Public Policy.
The project assessed 540 municipal websites in New Jersey for content, ease of use and citizen interaction.
Red Bank’s site earned an Honorable Mention, coming in 22nd on the list of 540. Five other Monmouth County sites were in the top 100, barely. Spring Lake’s site is ranked #82, Manasquan #89, Tinton Falls #91, Belmar #93 and Marlboro #95.
The study found that sites built by third party designers with multiple clients perform better than sites built in-house or by small firms with few clients.
Towns with higher populations and higher property tax bases are more likely to have better websites. Howell, ranked 514 of 540, is a notable exception to this rule in Monmouth County. Weak ratings in content and citizen interaction drove Monmouth’s second largest town’s site’s ranking well below average.
15% of the municipal sites in the State do not have budget information accessible, as required by law.
“I’m very proud that Middletown has earned an E-Government Award for having the best website in the state,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. “Monmouth University’s findings confirm our assertion that we’ve been on the right track in using the web as a primary tool to interact with our citizens.”
“This award is a testament to Middletown’s longstanding dedication to transparency and accessibility for its residents,” said Mayor Scharfenberger who noted that a 2011 Monmouth University poll showed that municipal websites are the first place New Jerseyans go for information about their hometowns.
“I would like to thank the residents who participated in the focus group that helped fine tune the website’s design and final layout. They provided valuable insight from a user’s perspective,” said Township Administrator Anthony P. Mercantante.
Last year, Middletown expanded its ability to connect with residents by adding Twitter and Facebook pages. Currently more than 1,000 people follow the township on Facebook and over 800 on Twitter, the mayor said.
The towns with sites in the top 10, and others with high rankings in specific categories will be recognized by Monmouth University tonight at an awards ceremony and seminar on municipal websites best practices.