This is a really cool story on how local governments can improve their presence on the Internet and save money using open source software. The City of Albert Lea needed to improve their website but the small Minnesota city was facing project costs of $10,000 to $30,000. In walks Wordpress being utilized as a full content management system. As reported by the Albert Lea Tribune:
Some cities pay a consultant $10,000, $20,000, even $50,000 for a Web-based content-management site that looks professional and is consistent through and through. Fairbault is one instance.
Albert Lea, however, paid $720 to local resident Jeshua Erickson last December, she said. Kauffmann was in charge of the site’s revision, and last October she put together a committee of city
officials to advise her.
She said the committee decided to shoot for a site using a content management system — or CMS — but it was outside of her Internet skills. The city began seeking estimates from Web design companies. When the estimates returned, they realized the city couldn’t afford it.
“We just didn’t feel we could justify spending $20,000-plus on a Web site,” Kauffmann said. “I happened to run into Jeshua Erickson on the Pelican Breeze one day, and we talked about Web sites and how he was developing them using WordPress.”
I'll have to say that even though Wordpress is open source and "free", this city got a steal with getting a website for under $1000. While Albert Lea is a small city, developing government sites can become big projects with lots of complications. Either the city was kind to the developer and his hours or he felt some civil duty to give the city's taxpayers a good deal. An example of this developer doing such a good job, Albert Lea's website is currently running Wordpress 2.7 which is the latest available version of Wordpress. Very well done Mr. Erickson.