UPDATED: FIRST ON 3: Website deal raising more questions - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: FIRST ON 3: Website deal raising more questions

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – The City of Chattanooga has released documents related to a proposal for a website redesign valued at $328,000, but the documents are providing more questions than answers.

In response to an open records request from Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the City of Chattanooga has released the request for proposals, and the winning proposal related to the website project. Councilman Andrae McGary provided the vendor agreement.

What remains unclear, even after examining the documents, is how a proposal for a website and marketing campaign for Green initiative turned into a full-blown website overhaul for the entire city.

In December of last year, Chattanooga's Office of Sustainability placed a request for proposal – or RFP – for a firm to create a web presence and marketing campaign for a new project, Chattanooga Green.

By law, government agencies must solicit bids from multiple contractors for any project completed by an outside firm, whether it's janitorial services, building a bridge or creating a website.

[READ: Office of Sustainability's Request for Proposals]

According to the Office of Sustainability's RFP, the plan for the website is to create "the ultimate 'green portal,' which will allow Chattanoogans to understand how different forms of energy usage affect local businesses, governments, residents, citizens, students, as well as the potential impacts or benefits on the natural environment."

The request asks for a 3D rendering of the city that would allow users "cruise through" the city, examining conservation and sustainability features throughout Chattanooga.

In January, Maycreate Idea Group, along several other firms submitted proposals for the development of the Chattanooga Green website and marketing campaign to promote the project.

Maycreate is a marketing and design firm with offices in Chattanooga and Nashville and a history of developing websites and campaigns similar to the Chattanooga Green project.

The Maycreate proposal offered a clear plan the Chattanooga Green website and an extensive marketing campaign that includes traditional media (TV, radio, print), social media and interactive kiosks in public spaces.

[READ: Maycreate Idea Group's proposal]

The total projected costs for the proposal, $377,700; with the bulk of the costs going to marketing - $120,000 - and software customization -$150,000.

This month, the city announced that Maycreate provided the lowest bid and would be awarded the contract at a cost of $328,000, pending approval from the City Council.

But when the city issued the development agreement for Maycreate, the contract was for a new content management system (the backbone of most modern websites), databases and a plan to create a new look and feel for the entire Chattanooga.gov website and up to 30 departmental pages. A project totaling $128,000.

The city's development agreement makes no mention of the Chattanooga Green project.

[READ: City's Website Development Agreement]

 

UPDATE: Responding to Eyewitness News's open records request, the city has released all bids related to the Chattanooga Green project.

 

Channel 3 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Melydia Clewell contributed to this report.

 

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