Top 10 Links Blog
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 email@example.com.