County Web site on hold

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By JOSHUA WOLFSON

Tuolumne County's plans for an official Web site are offline for now.

A divided Board of Supervisors yesterday couldn't muster the votes to spend $117,000 on a county Web site that would have launched this summer.

While county officials said a site would benefit residents, supervisors Larry Rotelli and Mark Thornton said they could not support the pricetag, given the uncertainty of county finances.

At issue was $57,000 earmarked for the site that supervisors could spend at their discretion. With the possibility of more county employee furlough days or even layoffs in the future, Rotelli said the county had more pressing needs for the money.

"I think this $57,000 should be put into the general fund," Rotelli said. "It could mean a job or two."

The remaining $60,000 in Web site costs would have been paid with money from grants, fees and reimbursements not available for discretionary use. County officials hoped to use the total $117,000 to pay for new hardware and software, Web site design and installation of high-speed data lines.

Thornton, while explaining that he supports the idea of a county Web site, said the timing for project is wrong.

"We are fiscally in tough times," he said. "I'd rather we have put the money into the general fund."

Other supervisors, including Jim Peterson, argued a Web site could improve county services and help employees needing information from other departments.

Although supervisors Dick Pland and Paolo Maffei joined Peterson in voting to spend the money, the measure failed because county budget changes require approval from four of the five board members.

Tuolumne is one of the few counties in the state without an official Web page. However, some county departments, including Tuolumne General Hospital, Community Development and Tuolumne County Fire, already have Web sites or have information available online.

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The Union Democrat
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