(TNS) — The city of Springfield is moving all of its departments to the same software program, meaning permits and requests from residents will be fulfilled quicker and more efficiently, city officials said Monday.
The city hopes to add planning, zoning, permitting and licensing divisions to the asset management software — known as CityWorks — by the end of March, said John West, an information systems division director for the city.
City Water, Light and Power's electric and water division, as well as parts of Public Works, already use CityWorks. Branch pickup, snow removal and location services are just some city tasks wired into it.
Before CityWorks, when a resident wanted to report a pothole online or in person, a city employee had to enter the work order into Public Works' management system. With CityWorks, the work order is automatically generated and crews in the field can see the order on a tablet and fill the pothole.
With planning and zoning, CityWorks will significantly shorten the process for reviewing plans, Public Works Director Mark Mahoney said.
"When someone submits a plan in the engineering division or just a building permit, instead of passing it around ... we review and add comments in real-time," he said.
Building and fire safety inspectors would be able to do real-time data entry in the field, as well, Mahoney said.
"It takes time, though, because there's a learning curve to it," Mahoney said of employees using the system.
Though Public Works has used the program for a couple of years, West said moving more city departments onto it will make the city truly "integrated."
"We are trying to be more transparent and take away some of the manual processes," West said. "... The future of all this is electronic."
West hopes to add a feature within six month that allows people to see where a request or permit is in the process.
"I want the city of Springfield to be as efficient as Starbucks and McDonald's," West said.
Although the city is moving forward online, the idea to have a physical "one-stop shop" in Municipal Center West is stalled for now.
Mayor Jim Langfelder has proposes having all of front-line departments be on the first floor of the building, so that residents didn't need to traverse through the three floors to get a permit and then make a payment at the treasurer's office.
Mahoney said changing the building is still in the "design phase."
"Anything we do will have to be on a shoestring budget," Mahoney said.
©2018 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.