Managing Growth by Empowering Residents
May 21, 2020 by
Population growth can indicate a city’s attractiveness to residents who find its location, services, and quality of life appealing. For the city itself, new residents become part of the workforce, patrons of local businesses, and taxpayers contributing revenue to support community priorities.
Increasing numbers, however, create increased demands that can strain city infrastructure and services. What’s more, booming development can increase already-burdened staff workloads.
This very scenario occurred in Henderson, Nevada, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. On top of population growth, Henderson’s innovative partnerships bolstered a business-friendly environment. While this development was positive, it forced city staff to take on more work while still maintaining high quality service delivery.
As a result of this booming development, “the demand for quick plan review and electronic processes were a necessity,” said Christopher Barnes, Development Services Center manager. “The City needed technology that would transform the services provided, making the processes more intuitive and efficient for our customers and employees.”
Citizen Self Service
With a focus on ease of application as well as transparency, the city adopted a new civic services software solution that automated routine functions and moved staff away from outdated paper processes. The new software also facilitated online permit management through a Citizen Self Service (CSS) portal developed in consultation with some of the city’s most frequent customers.
The move to online permitting reduced wait time for customers and call volume for staff. A built-in subcontractor registration tool automated contractor approval and verification within the portal. More than 14,000 permits have been submitted online since the system’s launch, and more than 90% of subcontractor registrations are now completed online. This is saving Henderson’s permit customers significant time and money while allowing city staff to keep up with increased demands with no additional staff.
To further increase efficiency and enhance service, leaders in Henderson added mobile inspection capabilities to its mobile workforce platform. The move to mobile inspections effectively removed paper logs and written notices, which not only saved time but also improved accuracy.
Using a simple dashboard, supervisors have access to inspection schedules and routes from the field, eliminating trips back to the office for reassignment and new logs. For residents, the wait time for scheduling consecutive inspections decreased by a full day. This quicker turnaround also means fewer calls to the inspection office to request results or schedule inspections.
Henderson’s proactive approach to encouraging and managing growth earned the city a 2020 Tyler Excellence Award. The city’s use of modern technology provides its residents and staff with effective and efficient processes, allowing the city to grow better as well as bigger.