The process of registering the domain name may differ slightly depending on the registrar you choose, but will be similar in several ways. First, you will need to provide contact information for your domain name. Four types of contacts exist for all domain name registrations: registrant, administrator, technical contact, and billing contact. Depending on the registrant, additional information may be required. The listed registrant is considered the domain owner. The registrant should be the city and the city’s contact information. The administrator is the contact who can interact with the registry or registrar for the domain owner. The technical contact is the person who manages the domain. The billing contact receives invoices for domain registration fees. Each of these contacts can be different entities or the same.
If you are outsourcing your web presence, all of these may have the company or person with whom you are contracting as the contact person. However, you should request in the contract that the city be listed as the registrant.
Most registrars give access to their registration database by letting you create a user name and password when you register your domain name. Therefore, if you allow an outside vendor or person to register your name, and do not have in the contract that the city will retain ownership of the domain name after the contract expires, the company could actually keep the domain name, sell it to someone else, or just let it expire. Getting the rights back to the name could be difficult, expensive and time consuming. If you do maintain your own domain name, make sure that your contact information is accurate because most registrars will automatically list an expired domain name for auction on The Domain Name Aftermarket (TDNAM). Some registrars will give you a grace period to claim the name, but if they are unable to contact you and someone else bids on and purchases the name, you lose the rights to it. You will then be put in the position of trying to purchase your name from the person or company that on the auction.