Kansas City's 2020 Sustainability Award

November 23, 2020 by Meredith Trimble

Kansas City's 2020 Sustainability Award

On October 22, the Kansas City Industrial Council presented a 2020 Sustainability Award to Rick Usher, assistant city manager for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The council is made up of members representing the top industrial-based businesses in the city, and the October award ceremony celebrated the larger connections between industry and the environment.

The city was recognized for its innovative citywide permitting system, CompassKC. First launched in August 2018, the system allows customers to submit and manage permit requests entirely online. Compass KC links nine city departments and consolidates permit applications, review, inspection, and fee payments. This eliminates process redundancies and has resulted in a 65% reduction in paper purchasing. Efficiencies also sped up application turnaround time for customers, who can conduct business online at their convenience without going to multiple departments. That customers and city employees could already process permit applications remotely led to a seamless continuation of operations at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This important online access enables continued social distancing for public health and reduces emissions and paper usage in ways that significantly benefit the environment. “We processed 2,948 more online applications this year than last year and had 3,294 fewer walk-ins,” noted Usher. Moving the plan review staff to 100% remote work eliminates commutes and changes the pandemic discourse from an eventual “return to work” to a “return to workplace,” instead.

“Probably the number one thing a city can do is provide streamlined, easily-accessible services, and it was a special honor to be recognized in this way by our major customers,” said Usher. The convenience of online access is good for the city, its customers, and the environment.

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