Unsupported Browser

We've detected an older browser version that will not give you the best experience while using The Atlas. Please consider revisitng this site after downloading one of the alternatives below.

Hillsborough digitizes municipal processes, enhancing citizen services & transparency

Hillsborough Township

Hillsborough Township, NJ

The township of Hillsborough, home to over 43,000 residents, was facing rising expectations from its staff and community members. To meet these growing needs, the township adopted a new data management system to modernize processes and improve service delivery for residents.

Topics Covered

Transparency
Customer Service
Permitting
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: 46.5 Thousand USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Gov Champion

Administration

Problem Addressed

Hillsborough's paper-based processes were inhibiting the township’s ability to effectively serve its residents.

Historically, Hillsborough township relied on paper-based processes to manage and deliver services for its residents, businesses, and other community members. This required residents to come into their municipal building to fill out paper applications for OPRA[FOIA] requests, licenses, and permits. Staff members would then use spreadsheets to keep track of submissions and approvals.

This process made it difficult for staff members to manage and approve requests because the manual data entry was time-consuming and left room for errors. Because each department had its own system for tracking and organizing requests, it also caused problems when multiple departments needed to review or approve a request.

Recognizing that a change was needed, Hillsborough’s administration looked for a software solution to improve its municipal oversight and collaboration, streamline processes for its departments and improve the way the township offers and delivers services to its residents.

Solutions Used

Embracing a new management system allowed the town to improve processes for its staff and residents.

Hillsborough Township ultimately selected Spatial Data Logic after identifying tools that would streamline operations for residents and staff including SDL's department-specific software, citizen platforms, municipal website, and hosting capabilities.

Hillsborough’s administration urged departments to embrace the software and move services online. The Clerk’s Office was the first, offering residents the option to submit OPRA [FOIA] requests online using SDL’s citizen portal instead of calling or visiting town hall. Bringing the process online allowed the Clerk’s office to instantly assign requests that require additional action to the appropriate department and made it generally easier to manage and respond to requests.   

"Accepting online requests has been a huge time saver for our township," said Sarah Brake, Deputy Clerk. "Previously, when an OPRA [FOIA] request came in, we had to manually enter it into our system. Now, more than half of our requests are submitted through the portal, allowing us to quickly review, assign and respond to requests."

While not all departments were early adopters, almost all departments now use SDL’s software to streamline processes and work more efficiently from the field. After the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida accelerated the need to move processes online, the township enabled online property and permit searches to make it easier for residents to look up permit information and check the status of requests.

Hillsborough also utilized SDL’s website services to improve communication with its residents. The new website offers visitors a modern, user-friendly site that is easy for the Clerk’s office to maintain and update on the backend. Integration with the citizen portal allows visitors to submit requests and access personal account information from Hillsborough's website.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the software made it easier for the township to maintain operations and disseminate critical information. For example, SDL’s hosting services allowed Hillsborough staff to access their municipal management software from home to ensure that services were not interrupted. Furthermore, the Clerk’s office was able to quickly create a dedicated COVID-19 resource site that included information on the latest case count and testing sites.

These software additions have improved operations and citizen services, while also drastically improving Hillsborough’s municipal oversight. Overseeing department productivity was difficult when the departments were using different systems and processes. Now, Hillsborough’s administration can easily see the number of citizen complaints or permits received, how quickly they are being addressed, and identify areas for improvement. 

Outcomes

1

Municipal software made it easier for staff members to streamline processes, collaborate with other departments and access their work remotely

2

Moving services online made it easier for residents to engage with their township, reducing the need for phone calls and in-person visits

3

Hillsborough is planning to expand citizen services to include online permitting and will use customizable forms to create a reservation process for multipurpose rooms and park areas

4

The township can offer residents more features and services as a result of integrating its citizen portal with its municipal website

5

With better municipal oversight, Hillsborough’s administration can easily identify ways to improve processes for its residents and staff members

Lessons Learned

1

Big systemic changes that impact multiple departments are best led by the administration so all departments are brought on board and areas that can benefit from the new tool are identified

Who Should Consider

Local governments looking for a way to streamline and digitize department workflows.

Government Project Team

  • Anthony Ferrera, Administrator
  • Sarah Brake, Deputy Clerk
  • Nancy Costa, CFO/Tax Collector/QPA
  • Jim Haurey, Technology Director
  • Fred Kinzler, Technology Support Assistant

Last Updated

May 16th, 2022
More Local Gov Case Studies from The Atlas Database
The Atlas case study database features examples of city projects – including both earth-moving projects and installed technologies – from around the world. You will not find proposed projects, or links to research studies and planning documents. There are 500+ member submitted case studies to browse - see related case studies to this one below:
Browse All Case Studies