Whether you’re scrolling through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; checking email; listening to a podcast; turning on your TV; or picking up the newspaper, the City of Victoria’s Communications & Public Affairs will be there to provide updates about what your local government is doing to serve you.
When I put myself in a resident’s shoes, I wonder where they might go to get information about the City and its services. For example, I consider questions like, “Where are we at on street projects?” “How can I voice my concern about a community issue?” “Who can I contact about that mattress lying in that ditch?” Yes, this has happened. And yes, there is a department you can contact about that and other questions you may have.
To make government and its information more accessible to Victoria residents, my team has worked hard to expand the City’s communication channels so we can be more intentional about being a 21st-century organization and reach a wider audience. When we create content, we coordinate it across most channels, including our weekly email City View newsletter, which residents can subscribe to at www.victoriatx.gov/cityview.
One vital source of content available to our residents is our website, www.victoriatx.gov, which we revamped in May, adding new important features with our residents in mind. Its easy-to-navigate format allows residents to quickly find information about different City departments and services, such as paying your water bill, or read the latest news and announcements.
When a resident arrives to our homepage, a clear layout of the content is summarized in the five options listed on the top menu bar. For example, if you are a business owner and want to know whether there is any funding being offered by the City to local businesses, you can click on Business, then Business Assistance. Similarly, if residents want to know whom to contact about City projects, they can select Government, followed by Departments, then click on the appropriate department hosting the project.
Another important feature of our new website is the News & Events section on the homepage. Here, Victorians can easily find the City’s latest news, including local orders issued, event cancellations, updates on ongoing projects and other important information. We also continue to provide updates to our local media partners, and we’re grateful for their support in distributing information through their own channels.
We also revamped our podcast, now called TOWNtalk, intended to give residents a behind-the-scenes listen and look at what’s happening within the organization and around Victoria. This is the first time we’ve had a talk show format, which includes a video form so people can choose whether they want to watch or listen.
The importance of communication across different channels has become especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to be sure no one gets left out of receiving vital information. When we’re not posting about a pandemic, we’re providing information on any number of critical topics ranging from road closures to renovations, from City services to the 2020 Census and everything in between.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our new website and other communication channels. Be the first to learn about the dynamic things that are being done within our local government to enhance Victoria and make it a more livable community.
Ashley Strevel is the director of Communications & Public Affairs for the City of Victoria.