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Software Upgrade to Streamline Permitting in Skagit County, Wash.

The Skagit County Board of Commissioners agreed last week to a software upgrade that manages building permit applications. Tyler Technologies’ EnerGov software was selected for the project.

(TNS) — The Skagit County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to upgrade the software that manages building permit applications, a move county staff said should help to streamline the permitting process.

Though the software was approved, it won't be brought online until at least 2024.

The three commissioners agreed unanimously to work with Tyler Technologies to draft a contract for its EnerGov software — a program county staff called the best choice among the seven bidders.

"It's been the industry standard for a long time," said Hal Hart, Planning and Development Services director.

EnerGov will track exactly where permit applications are in the review process, and help identify what's causing delays, said county systems analyst Rose Cummins.

"There might be a backlog in one area that doesn't exist in another. It will be easier to pinpoint those and get the pipes moving again," Cummins said.

The program is also designed to work with systems the county is already using, she said.

County Commissioner Lisa Janicki said improving response time on permits is a major priority.

She said Planning and Development Services fields 600 to 800 calls a week regarding permits, and it needs to bring that number down.

Mike Almvig, the county's Information Services director, said the next step is to begin negotiating a contract with Tyler Technologies.

Almvig said the county's existing permit software provider plans to stop supporting its program in July 2023. The sooner the county switches over, the better, he said.

"We can't afford to stay on an old permitting system that isn't supported," he said.

Once both parties agree on a contract, implementing the program will take 12 to 18 months, Almvig said.

Final costs aren't yet known, but he said he expects to spend $600,000 in the first year, and about $130,000 per year after that.

Almvig said his team is already working at capacity, and he expects he will need more staff to convert the county to EnerGov.

"This is going to be a complex project," he said. "We have a lot of work."

Janicki said she wants this project to be the top priority for Information Services, and said she is willing to talk about bringing in additional staff to help.

"Waiting in the wings are other big data projects," she said. "If we can get this one through, those other needs can also be met. It will be their turn."

©2022 the Skagit Valley Herald, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.