Top 10 Links Blog
December 2020: Special events
This month’s Top 10 Links Blog reminds users that current event information can always be found on the City’s website.
During the month of December 2020, several community events – sponsored by the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department, the Parks and Recreation Department and more – were spotlighted on the City’s website. These included the annual Reindeer Park celebration as well as Santa Around Town.
“The Parks and Recreation Department creates event pages for all of our major holiday festivities, including the Easter Eggstravaganza in March/April, Fourth Fest in July, the Halloween Carnival in October, and Reindeer Park in December,” said Nicole Garvis, Marketing/Technical Coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department. “The pages include all of the information a family might need to plan to attend those events, from location and time to ticket pricing.”
The DPVFD’s annual Santa Around Town event – which took place from December 16-19 – was also featured on the website, with street maps and daily location lists made available ahead of the event.
“The City of Deer Park website is kept updated in order to provide residents with timely information about services and events,” said Kristin Edwards, PR/Marketing Administrator. “If you’re ever looking for event information, you can check the City Calendar, the News and Announcements scrolling menu at the base of the homepage, or even use the search bar to find what you’re looking for.
“Of course, we also encourage our residents to follow the City’s social media outlets for up-to-the-minute notifications regarding special events, links for purchasing tickets and event photos.”
November 2020: A look at the City's homepage
This month’s “Top 10 Links Blog” is breaking the rules – instead of talking about one specific link, we’re providing a rundown of the most visited page of all, the City of Deer Park’s homepage!
In November 2020, the City’s homepage received 11,770 page views, and since January 1, nearly 200,000 users from all over the world – 190,840 to be exact - have visited the page.
“The City of Deer Park’s homepage is constantly being updated, with links and tools designed to help residents get the most utility from the City’s full website,” said James Lewis, Information Technology Director. “If you have not done so in the past, take the time to glance through the various links and categories of information available from the homepage, as they lead to many of the most popular and important functions of the City website.”
Starting at the top of the page, the City has placed a COVID-19 Information bar, with a direct link to the City’s COVID-19 updates page.
Immediately below the COVID-19 information bar, users will find the City website’s “mega-menu,” with categories including “Government,” “Departments,” “Residents,” “Business,” “Discover Deer Park,” and “How Do I?” – these categories lead users to many of the key pages on the website.
For example, in the “Government” tab, visitors to the City website can find information on the Deer Park City Council including meeting dates and agendas, links to the City’s Boards and Commissions, and Public Notices. The “Residents” and “How Do I?” tabs include important information for people who live or do business in the City of Deer Park, from the Business Directory and Restaurant Guide to links for the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce and the Deer Park Independent School District.
Below the “mega-menu,” visitors to the page will notice an image of the Deer Park City Hall, with scrolling graphic links placed in front. This feature is the City’s “slideshow,” and includes links to several other commonly visited pages including Emergency Notifications, Online Payments, Job Openings and more. There are also color-coded buttons below the slideshow with additional links like “Notify Me,” where users can sign up for a range of periodic newsletters or other automatic notifications.
Finally, the City’s homepage features a “News and Information” section, with event notices, meeting announcements and other updates – this is the section of the homepage where users can find a link to the quarterly Messenger newsletter.
At the base of the page, users will see a Calendar of Events as well as some of the most popular links on the page. Make sure to explore these links, as they are tailored to meet the most frequently asked questions by residents and page visitors.
October 2020: Elections page
In this installment of the Top 10 Links Blog, we’ll explore the Elections page, maintained by the Deer Park City Secretary’s office. The Elections page was the top-visited page on the City of Deer Park website for the month of October 2020.
Before we dig in, did you know that administering municipal and special elections is one of the key responsibilities of the City Secretary’s Office? The November 3 General Election for three Council members – Positions Four, Five, and Six – is being conducted jointly with Harris County.
As a partnering agency, the City Secretary’s Office worked to publicize Early Voting information including polling places, early voting hours, as well as vote by mail procedures using the Elections page. The page also included a sample ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election sample ballot and Election Day polling places and hours.
As well, visitors were encouraged to check out Harris County resources – including the HarrisVotes.com website – for additional information and to locate voting locations for Early Voting and Election Day.
“We’re very happy our residents were able to utilize our Elections page to learn more about participating in the General Election,” City Secretary Shannon Bennett said. “In addition to information about the November 3, 2020 election, our page also includes links on filing requirements for local candidates, as well as voting requirements for citizens.
“As well, the page references other election resources including the Secretary of State’s office, the Texas Ethics Commission and an election calendar provided by the Texas Municipal Clerks Association.”
There’s still one more day of early voting left – tomorrow, October 30 from 7AM to 7PM. The early voting locations near the City of Deer Park include: East Harris County Activity Center (Big Room), 7340 Spencer Highway, Pasadena, TX 77505; Baker Ripley Cleveland Ripley Neighborhood Center (Gym) 720 Fairmount, Parkway, Pasadena, TX 77505; and La Porte Recreation and Fitness Center (Senior Center), 1322 South Broadway, La Porte, TX 77571.
Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) polling locations in the Deer Park city limits include:
*Deer Park Community Center (Room 12), 610 East San Augustine Street, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Best Western Deer Park Inn and Suites (Meeting Room), 1401 Center Street, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Deer Park Junior High School (Gym), 410 East 9th Street, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Jimmy Burke Activity Center (Front & Back), 500 West 13th Street, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Bonnette Junior High (Gym), 5010 West Pasadena Boulevard, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Kingsdale Recreation Center (Main Room), 2218 Kingsdale Street, Deer Park, TX 77536
*Heritage Elementary School (Gym), 4301 East Boulevard, Deer Park, TX 77536
September 2020: Human Resources and Job Postings
This month’s blog will focus on the Human Resources Department, the people behind our Job Postings page! The Human Resources Department is responsible for recruitment, compensation, benefits, property and risk insurance, health, safety and wellness.
Did you know that the City of Deer Park employs many people who live within the City limits?
“About one-third of our City staff members reside in Deer Park, which is fairly unique and a higher number than most municipalities,” said Human Resources Director Bill Philibert. “I think that gives our employees a sense of pride as they live, work and play in their city.”
Philibert said there are lots of reasons to apply for a position with the City of Deer Park.
“If you pursue a career with the City of Deer Park, you’ll be coming to a great place to work,” he said. “We have great benefits including a fully-funded pension plan and a 457 savings plan, plus lots of other benefits including medical and dental coverage.”
Philibert said potential applicants of all experience levels – as well as those with either full-time or part-time availability – should continually monitor the City’s Job Postings page for new opportunities.
“Some positions, such as dispatchers for the Deer Park Police Department, mechanics or seasonal laborers, open more often due to the specific skillsets and training required,” he said. “While there are different requirements for field staff, support staff and other positions within the City, there are a few things we look for in any potential employee. We always look for applicants who demonstrate an ability to communicate, who are dependable and who have the ability to work well with others.”
If you’re interested in working for the City of Deer Park, we recommend that you fill out a Job Interest Card, linked on the Job Postings webpage, so that you will receive email notifications when jobs in the categories that you’re interested in become available. Then, you just need to apply for the job online!
If it’s your first time applying with the City of Deer Park online, you will be required to create an account. If you have any questions about your online account, contact NEOGOV at 855-524-5627.
August 2020: Emergencies and how to get notifications about them
During the month of August, we closely monitored the development of two storm systems – Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 with massive winds and storm surge, and Tropical Storm Marco – both of which showed strong likelihood of impacting the southeast Texas region.
For the month of August, the landing page created for Hurricane Laura - http://deerparktx.gov/1895/Hurricane-Laura - was the third most visited page on the City’s website with 1,784 visits. The Emergency Notifications page - http://www.deerparktx.gov/338/Emergency-Notifications - was also one of the top 10 most visited pages with 903 visits.
Let’s talk about each of these pages and how they can help you and your family prepare in case of an emergency.
Hurricane Laura landing page
As has become practice during emergencies like the Intercontinental Terminals Company fire and response or the COVID-19 response, the City created a dedicated landing page when Hurricane Laura threatened to impact the Texas coast and the Deer Park area. The purpose of the page is to provide a one-stop location for all of the information a resident or other user may need about a particular emergency.
The page - http://deerparktx.gov/1895/Hurricane-Laura – included updates from the National Weather Service about the storm’s path and weather conditions related to the hurricane. As well, it featured a City services section which outlined the functions and facilities that would be impacted by Hurricane Laura within the municipality, such as garbage collection. It also included disaster declarations from Mayor Jerry Mouton, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
The page was created under the umbrella of the Emergency Services Department and was linked from the City homepage in the “slideshow” section – the first collection of links you’ll find at the top of the homepage. This is where users should look first for information about current emergencies or ongoing responses such as the response to COVID-19.
Emergency Notifications page
The City of Deer Park uses the CodeRED® system to deliver critical and time-sensitive communications such as severe weather warnings, evacuation notices, shelter-in-place notices, and missing child alerts, in addition to community announcements.
Hurricane Season is a great time to visit the Emergency Notifications page if you have not already done so. Using the City website - http://www.deerparktx.gov/338/Emergency-Notifications - citizens may sign up for alerts via land-lines, cell phones, work numbers, text messaging, and email addresses.
Available message types include Emergency Notifications, Weather Warnings or General Notifications – users can choose which messages to register for, and contact information remains private.
The City of Deer Park would like to express its sincere thanks to all of our citizens who took the time to prepare for Hurricane Laura, taking steps like building disaster kits, filling gas tanks and preparing their homes for high wind. Registering for CodeRED messages is another critical step you and your family can take to prepare – if you have not already done so, sign up today!
July 2020: Deep dive into Online Payment options through the City website
August 3, 2020
The Top 10 Links Blog is back with a new post! This month’s Top 10 Links Blog will focus on the Online Payments page, http://deerparktx.gov/1060/Online-Payments. The page, the most visited in the month of July with a total of 3,446 hits, is a snapshot of just how many parts of community life the City can help with.
Did you know that you can submit payments for seven different types of services using the Online Payments page? By selecting a different area of payment, customers will be provided options for different payment platforms relative to each area.
“The Online Payments page allows visitors to make payments for seven different types of services, and the page utilizes five different payment sites,” said Paul Kurtz, Business Analyst with the City’s Information Technology Department. “This is because the services being paid for are hosted by different companies or applications, which specialize in the area of the service.”
The areas include:
Ambulance Billing (processed through CivicPlus)
Court Payments to the Deer Park Municipal Court (processed through InCode Online or Tyler Municipal Payments)
Retiree Insurance (processed through CivicPlus)
Building Permits (processed through Energov or Tyler Municipal Payments)
Property Taxes (processed through ACT)
Water Bills (processed through InCode Online or Tyler Municipal Payments)
Alarm Permits (processed through Cry Wolfe)
Frequently asked questions regarding Online Payments:
Each Online Payment option has specific requirements of the user, and one user may have to create multiple payment profiles to utilize the various payment platforms on the page.
Water Bills, for example, require one process for one-time payments and another process for setting up recurring payments on the same credit card. Questions about these processes may be directed to Utility Billing/Central Collections at 281-478-7221.
Another area of online payments, Court Payments to the Deer Park Municipal Court, require customers to enter information exactly as it appears on a citation. If information is entered incorrectly at any point in the process, the only resolution is to contact the Court directly at 281-478-7238.
The Alarm Permits link sends users to the Alarm Permitting page, http://www.deerparktx.gov/467/Alarm-Services. There, users can learn more about the types of alarms that require permits and gain access to resources including the Better Business Bureau, the Texas Private Security Bureau and the False Alarm Reduction Association.
June 2020: Keeping up with the Coronavirus response
July 7, 2020
For our first official Top 10 Links Blog post, we’re spotlighting the City’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page, http://www.deerparktx.gov/1869/COVID-19. The page was viewed 7,869 times during the month of June 2020. Fun fact: At the height of the response during April 2020, the City’s COVID page drew 33,362 views – thank you for trusting the City of Deer Park to provide updated information during this time!
How can the page help me?
“The Coronavirus (COVID) page was created to provide our community a single source of updates as the response continues,” said Robert Hemminger, Emergency Services Director for the City of Deer Park. “The page, created in March 2020 following Mayor Jerry Mouton’s disaster declaration for the city, has been updated with local, regional, state and federal information from a range of entities since that time.”
Hemminger said the page includes links to Harris County Public Health – the entity that reports case counts by city and county – as well as to organizations like the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“From the beginning, our goal has been to keep our citizens connected to reliable sources of information regarding the virus and the nation’s response,” Hemminger said. “As new waves of information – personal hygiene strategies, case counts and now face covering options – have become the focus, these organizations have consistently provided dependable content for our community to lean on.”
Specifically, the COVID page includes a current cases section which links to the Harris County Public Health dashboard – the dashboard includes case counts for specific municipalities as well as the full City of Houston or Harris County. The COVID page also includes an overview of the Coronavirus response beginning in March 2020; links to recovery documents from President Donald Trump, Governor Greg Abbott and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo including Governor Abbott’s “Open Texas” plan; disaster declarations from the federal, state and regional levels; fact sheets and City updates.
“The COVID page also includes information about our City facilities – when we re-opened specific facilities or changed hours of operation pursuant to Governor Abbott’s ‘Open Texas’ plan, those updates were added to the page,” Hemminger said.
Where else can I go to keep up with COVID updates?
In addition to the COVID page, the Office of Emergency Management Facebook page and the OEM Twitter page, @deerparktxoem, are also good sources of information for residents to utilize.
“We’ve utilized Twitter throughout the response to re-tweet updates from regional partners, including the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) and Ready Harris,” Hemminger said.
Introducing the Top 10 Links Blog
July 1, 2020
How do you utilize the City of Deer Park website? Do you visit the site to pay utility bills, check for job opportunities, or learn more about our family-friendly events? What about disaster information – do you think of looking at City updates during major events like the Coronavirus response?
The Top 10 Links Blog was created to spotlight the top 10 sites visited each month by our users. The goal: To provide rich content and insight, connecting our users with even more of the information they look for most often.
Let us know what you think, or submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.