Pierce County has won a top technology award for creating the most advanced permitting system in the nation. The Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Award recognizes the county’s efforts to streamline a key service and save significant money.
"It says a lot about the hard work and dedication that the Planning and Land Services and Information Technology departments have put into this project, and I can't express how proud we are of their efforts," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "This award shows that their continued successes are setting a high standard across the country."
Pierce County’s permitting system has streamlined a traditional paper-based system. Online permitting tools reduced the number of customer phone calls and office visits by 20%, while also reducing the average consultation time by nearly 80%. Meanwhile, the mobile permitting app allows inspectors to access inspection requests, plans and permit data on their iPads. Customers can receive either electronic or printed copies of their inspections and request a re-inspection for the same or next day. Mobile permitting allows Department to conduct up to 70 more inspections a week – or 3,500 more per year! Additionally, Pierce County is one of the first counties in the nation to use free video chat tools such as Skype or Facetime for minor inspections.
“Our overarching goal at PALS is to integrate customer service in all aspects of the department,” said Dennis Hanberg, Director of Planning and Land Services (PALS). “We have been able to find efficiencies in the permitting process through the use of technology, for the benefit of our customers, citizens of Pierce County, and County staff.”
About the ESIG Award:
The 2015 ESIG award is presented by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). URISA is the premier non-profit organization for the use and integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other information technologies to improve government services. According to the award announcement, “Because of the corporate, community and economic impact of Pierce County’s efforts, its Next Generation Permitting System is deserving of the 2015 Single Process Exemplary Systems in Government Award.”
John DeWeese, Pierce County Information Technology