Livable, Digital Community Development
- Tyler Client Since: 1997
- Number of Employees: 172
- Population: 114,791
- Location: Temecula, California
- Tyler Products Used: EnerGov™, Munis®, Socrata®, MyCivic™, ExecuTime™, Tyler Cashiering™, Tyler Content Manager™
It’s not difficult to see Temecula’s appeal. From the city’s prime location in the heart of Southern California wine country to the year-round sunshine covering its 41 picturesque parks, charming Old Town district, and popular festivals — Temecula is an ideal place to visit or to put down roots. “It’s a place where you want to work, live, and play,” said Michael Heslin, director of information technology and support services for the city.
With population, tourism, and business opportunities rising steadily, city leaders recognized the large responsibility that came with sustaining such success. That’s why, in 2010, the local government created a 20-year roadmap, called the Quality of Life Master Plan. The plan identified core values the city needed to achieve to maintain its high quality of life, including a responsive, accountable city government, economic prosperity, sustainability, and a safe, healthy, connected community.
City staff understood the important role community development plays in realizing its ambitious core values. By implementing strong, yet flexible permitting and licensing technology, Temecula made it a priority to create simple processes that encouraged growth and engagement, making it easier for businesses to open their doors and for the community to thrive.
We needed living applications that could grow and shift with our goals.
Director of IT & Support Services
Adopting the mentality that technology can be a pliable, living solution has allowed Temecula to adapt its services to respond to the community’s goals and needs.
Set Up for Success
When Temecula laid out its Quality of Life Master Plan, it became apparent that its legacy building, planning, regulatory, and licensing systems were too outdated and paper-reliant to support the city’s core values. And, with a population that was craving convenient online services, city leaders knew they also needed to prioritize virtual, citizen-friendly platforms.
Temecula identified Tyler’s EnerGov™ civic services software as the best solution to reach its goals. A client of Tyler Technologies since 1997, “Selecting EnerGov was a natural fit, allowing us to enable all land management services and processes within a single enterprise platform,” noted Heslin.
By including representatives across six city departments during implementation, Temecula ensured there was full ownership of the solution. This visibility allowed the city to break down barriers and standardize cross-departmental processes at the outset, paving the way for open communication.
Efficient & Responsive Staff
By leveraging EnerGov to link the city’s building permits, plans, code cases, and licenses, staff was able to eliminate duplicate, siloed processes. This careful implementation led Temecula to achieve a 24–48-hour faster permit turnaround time from plan submission to approval. Even more impressive, is that since implementing EnerGov, Temecula has successfully managed a 16% increase in annual permits and a 52% increase in annual business licenses — all without additional staff. Consistent with the city’s vision of living technology, the progress didn’t stop there.
“A commitment was made to continue to enhance and deliver new capabilities to optimize staff processes and better serve the citizens,” said Heslin. For example, while Temecula included aspects of electronic plan review (eReviews) and an online citizen portal in its initial implementation of EnerGov, the city continues to partner with Tyler to enhance and expand these services. Today, the city deploys EnerGov’s robust Citizen Self Service (CSS) portal, providing its 12,000+ users with 24/7 access to city services, including permitting, plan submittal, and business licensing — while also providing constituents with a transparent view of city development.
Environmentally Friendly Workflows
The city’s dedication to deploying the latest, industry-leading solutions has benefited the environment, too. While Temecula had intended a gradual rollout of eReviews, the pandemic sped up the process, and it’s now accepting all plan types electronically, allowing the plan review and submittal process to be administered within a 100% paperless, browser-based environment. “By utilizing paperless workflows and virtual routing, we’ve seen a 75% reduction in paper consumption,” Heslin stated.
A Steady Partner Through Adversity
While Temecula had begun implementing aspects of CSS prior to COVID-19, providing online services for business license renewals and simple permits, less than 10% of total EnerGov transactions were being performed through CSS. However, come March 2020, when city halls across California were ordered to close their doors, Temecula staff quickly took action.
Within four days, the city was ready for 100% virtual transactions in CSS. All EnerGov plan application submittals and permit types were fully available for the staff to both work on and serve constituents virtually.
Director of IT & Support Services
While city leaders were initially concerned the swift shift to digital might threaten its high level of customer service, Temecula staff created a seamless customer experience, enabling all case types and back-office processes to be launched in CSS. In fact, the city’s permit and plan volumes were 10% higher at the height of the pandemic than at the same time the year before, yet city staff maintained its exceptional customer service, even with reduced resources.
According to Heslin, “This was all possible with the out-of-the-box automated notifications and processing that is linked between CSS, EnerGov back-office, eReviews, and Bluebeam® … it removed any shuffling of plans and saved a lot of extra steps, data entry, and time for every process.”
Temecula made digital inspections possible, too. Constituents can now request and schedule inspections online, and the city is offering virtual inspections via Zoom.
Through adversity, Temecula showed it wasn’t just open for business — it was a responsive partner, ready to help constituents reach their goals. As a result of expanding CSS, the city has been able to engage with and respond to customers even more efficiently online. And, with the transparency customers now have through Temecula’s CSS portal — including visibility into the status or history of plan submittals permits, inspections, payments, and more — constituents are more informed than ever before.
A Lasting Impact
Outside of community development and business management, the local government continues to leverage technology to uplift the community. For example, the city has transformed three park spaces into free outdoor Wi-Fi gardens to help break down the digital divide among students so they could continue learning safely throughout COVID-19.
Temecula’s commitment to investing in technology that doesn’t just keep up with the city’s growth, but can also help drive it, is allowing the city to reach its core values and quickly adapt to unforeseen challenges. While the solutions Temecula has deployed in response to the pandemic were initially intended for the short term, they’ve made a lasting impact and will help Temecula preserve its high quality of life for years to come.