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Volusia County Digitizes Resident Services, Issues 12K Building Permits in First 12 Months

Volusia County, FL, USA

At a Glance

Departments in Volusia County, FL, used manual processes and paper files, making permitting and zoning operations difficult and time-consuming. By implementing a workflow management system that enabled information sharing across departments, the county increased output to 10,000-12,000 building permits annually.

Problem Addressed

Volusia County is responsible for all unincorporated areas in and around its 16 municipalities, as well as the coastline. It manages all processes involved with land use and the protection of wild areas and endangered species.

Prior to 2008, most data exchanges between departments were conducted via paper and email distribution. Zoning and comprehensive planning were often completed using excel spreadsheets, which generated a tremendous amount of paper and made sharing information a burdensome task. Additionally, department usage of software systems that did not interconnect resulted in frustration from the county’s customers at the lack of transparency and self-service options.

With the county’s regulatory responsibilities growing, county staff and officials knew this method of managing workflows could no longer be managed on paper or with dissonant software systems.

Volusia County used/is using Amanda permitting and compliance software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Volusia County implemented Amanda, and redesigned their planning and zoning department folders from the ground up. This helped ensure that departments who shared data had access to identical folders. And because of Amanda’s enterprise capabilities, the county was able to use the software to manage almost all of the regulatory type functions they were providing for county residents. Integration of the Amanda platform into county processes allowed for numerous improvements such as automation, mobile apps, an online citizen portal, and advanced reporting and analytics.

Whereas the county had struggled before with sharing of information between departments, Amanda enabled the optimization of development services by storing a complete record for a building permit in one folder including drawings, payment data, and property data. Prior to this update, an applicant had to file 16 signed and sealed complete sets of civil engineered plans and related documents for a land development project. These would be routed to various county departments for feedback, often collected in memo form. That feedback would then be manually consolidated and formatted. With the new system, a developer files one paper copy and one digital copy. All departments review the digital copy and are able to share feedback within Amanda – allowing easy tracking of the approval and feedback process.

The new system also eliminated gaps in the fee collection process, by integrating with the current financial system to assess, charge, and collect permit-associated fees

With process inefficiencies extending into field work, Amanda enabled the county’s mobile workforce to work smarter by easily completing inspections and reports by capturing and uploading photos, issuing violation notices, and capturing signatures, all from their mobile devices.

The county used the integration of Amanda into workflows to overhaul customer service: giving customers the ability to submit applications, schedule inspections, pay fees, and track case status, all online. The county also used the opportunity to upload building code information useful to customers on the website to aid proactive project management.

Outcomes

  1. The county was able to review/approve between 10,000 and 12,000 building permits in the first 12 months.
  2. Volusia County moved many of its processes online, adding between 30,000 and 50,000 folders to the new system in the first 12 months.
  3. Increased staff efficiency due to better information sharing and easy tracking of the approval and feedback process
  4. Cost and time savings for staff as the review and approval process became more streamlined.
  5. Closer collaboration between the county and external agencies (ex. Sheriff’s Office) because the Volusia team is able to easily grant access to data like building plans.

Who Should Consider?

County governments looking to save time and increase process efficiency across various departments through a unified software system.

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