AJC: 30 Georgia counties, 217 municipalities don’t have websites

So imagine you’re affiliated with a company that wishes to expand — one that’s willing to take a risk on opening a store or even a manufacturing plant of some sort in one of Georgia’s small rural counties.

You’re doing some basic internet searching and you decide to check out a particular county or town. Maybe you find something on Wikipedia, or maybe on a local Chamber of Commerce website — but there’s no dedicated website. None.

What does that say to prospective employers about the economy, culture, and education of that municipality and its workforce?

We hear talk routinely from Georgia’s leaders about how great the state is for business and about all the efforts to boost business investment. But we have 217 municipalities that don’t have their own websites? 30 counties — almost 20% of those in the state? That also means that many local officials across the state do not have any official email address.

There’s much more in this piece by PolitiFact Georgia at the AJC. An excerpt:

The state Attorney General’s Office sent us a list of those counties, as well as information from the Georgia Municipal Association, which represents cities and towns statewide. The GMA lists 217 municipalities that don’t have their own websites.

Some of these governments have a Web presence on a local chamber of commerce or regional development website but do not control or operate them, said Beth Brown, a spokeswoman for the ACCG.

They often don’t have enough staff or money to run a website, spokeswomen for both groups told us. Others are so remote they can’t get high-speed Internet access.

Consider Taliaferro County. In 2009, an estimated 1,812 residents lived in all of its 195.4 square miles, according to census and state data. Their commissioners work part time, so officials don’t see a need to spend the resources to give them their own accounts, the county clerk told us.

Bacon County gives email addresses to elected officials who ask for them, but not all of them in this county of about 10,600 do. Their one-man IT department hopes to get the county’s official website up soon. It just takes a lot of manpower to get it done, he said.

If Georgia really is serious about being “open for business” and reducing unemployment in rural areas hit hard by the recession, these municipalities need to get on the web. Immediately.