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Florida Counties Find Efficiencies in Upgraded Permitting System

Polk and Manatee counties recently tapped into a new building permitting system that is helping to manage their building boom. Officials say the technology is also adding unprecedented transparency to the permitting process.

A stamp sitting on top of blueprints.
Two Florida counties are moving forward with a cloud-based permitting solution to power critical administrative functions and financial operations.

Polk and Manatee counties have adopted the Euna Permits solution to streamline the permit requests and better calculate building fees in the early stages of the construction process.

Polk County Building Division Director Benjamin A. Dunn said the partnership essentially came to fruition after the county began an extensive search for a tool that would encompass a built-in fee calculator for construction permit requests. The county has experienced significant growth in recent years; some 32,000 new residents moved to the region in 2022 alone.

“We knew this type of technology would give our customers the ability to plan early for their project costs and reduce staff time spent calculating building fees,” Dunn explained. “We had a few demonstrations and we liked that Open Counter provided the fee calculator, the zoning/land use component, and that it could integrate with Accela.”

Dunn believes that digitalization of the process will not only increase efficiency, but also improve the accuracy of reviews, allow easier access to information and provide greater transparency and communication to interested residents.

“The accessibility to the data and information in the system is just a click away for anyone with access to the permitting system, and the technology cuts down on staff having to contact each other via email or phone asking for information that they need,” Dunn said. “The system allows users to access this information remotely 24 hours, 7 days a week, and makes us more efficient with our time and the customer’s time, which makes our permitting process more efficient.”

Polk County has also created resources to help first-time users utilize their platform, which include fliers in English and Spanish as well as tutorial videos, Dunn said.

Manatee County is also reporting efficiencies since implementing the system. According to an online release, the building division of Manatee County completed nearly 60,000 building permits, a 34 percent increase from 2021, and commercial building permits for new businesses in unincorporated areas surged by nearly 47 percent from 2021.

“We needed an interactive resource to help citizens and businesses more easily navigate zoning requirements and obtain general permit information,” Lacy L. Pritchard, business services manager of Manatee County, said in the release. “Euna Permits’ Zoning & Permit Navigator reduces the volume of phone calls, emails and walk-ins, streamlining our processes for improved efficiency.”

Euna Solutions Chief Executive Officer Craig Ross told Government Technology in May that the company intends to keep pushing the envelope as customers shift their priorities and focus to interoperability and modularity.

“Our mission is to empower government agencies and permitting staff with technology solutions that enhance efficiency and elevate customer service,” Ross said in the press release. “Through seamless collaboration, Euna Permits enables its partners to achieve these goals successfully, and we are thrilled to expand our presence in Florida through our collaboration with Polk County and Manatee County.”
Ashley Silver is a staff writer for Government Technology. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Montevallo and a graduate degree in public relations from Kent State University. Silver is also a published author with a wide range of experience in editing, communications and public relations.