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In the News

MyPermitNow, MyGovernmentOnline tracks development process

Monday, January 04, 2016

MyPermitNow creates a clear path through the permitting and inspection process for governments and contractors. The web-based application has simplified several Central Texas cities’ permitting process while saving them time and money. It is now part of a larger suite of online tools, MyGovernmentOnline, meant to provide similar benefits.

“MyPermitNow has been great. It has helped Leander streamline and speed up our process, which desperately needed to be done because we have a high volume of permits,” said Kent Cagle, Leander city manager. Without MyPermitNow, Leander would need more staff to maintain its records and keep up with demand.

Leander issues about 1,500 permits per year and MyPermitNow lets inspectors, permit filers, contractors, and city planners be aware of every step in the process, said Linda Alger, Leander building official.

Specifically, MyPermitNow allows online permit submission, processing, and automated notifications for the entire permitting process, starting with the submission of building documents through the issuance of a permit to a building’s occupancy. The software is customizable to a government’s needs and can store plans, photos and other information as needed. The service also offers archiving of past documents and records to maintain continuity for government record keeping.

Putting the information in the web-based software allows governments to use a paperless system that provides better document management and limits human error. Its other benefits include increased transparency, an auditable process, an online approval process, empirical verifications, improved project management, and better process controls.

Going to paperless permitting increased the amount of information a building inspector can access on a job site, Alger said. Instead of carrying large plans and paperwork, MyPermitNow gives inspectors access to  the project’s documents at the project site via a computer tablet. Those documents can include building plans, previous permit results and other items an inspector may need. The inspector also can update the inspection status on site.

“It gives instant notifications about the inspections,” Alger said. “The permit applicant gets an email, text, or an automated phone call about the results of their inspections, sometimes before the inspector leaves.”

The South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) in Louisiana developed MyPermitNow as a tool in response to the higher levels of plan review and permit tracking that became mandatory in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The SCPDC has since expanded the application to MyGovernmentOnline, which provides additional online resources including tools for code enforcement and planning and zoning.

The code enforcement tools allow for reporting complaints, tracking the complaint and seeing the complaint resolution. For the planning and zoning module, it lets officials search projects, check and review variances, and review subdivision and zoning requests.

CAPCOG is the Texas administrator of MyPermitNow and has registered 18 governments to use the software, since it began demonstrating it to local governments in 2011.

“As a regional partner to its local jurisdictions, CAPCOG realized the benefits MyPermitNow could provide to governments by creating more efficient processes that lead to cost savings,” said Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director. “MyGovernmentOnline is now offering a whole suite of applications to assist cities with several processes, and the value added permitting portion of the program is on a whole other level.”

“(Permit applicants) don’t have to come to the front counter for anything,” said David Harrell, director of development services for Lago Vista. “MyPermitNow is a true representation of E-government.”  For instance, a general contractor can sit in his Austin office and submit a permit for a single-family home construction project in Lago Vista. From the same office, he can see when inspections will occur and their results.

Because of MyPermitNow’s increased capabilities, reporting for planning purposes are more readily available and accurate.

Using a code enforcement module, Lago Vista, which has used MyPermitNow since 2011, can provide weekly and monthly updates on actions taken by the department, Harrell said. The Lago Vista City Council and residents can review what code complaints were filed and how code compliance offers responded to the complaint.

> Contact Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director, for more information about MyGovernmentOnline.

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