The city council has unanimously agreed to use Accela's Land Management Software to expedite the building approval process and cut physically dropping off paper plans to various agencies.
(TNS) -- City councilors approved a software purchase Tuesday that will move the city's building and development processes into the digital age, a transition welcomed by local builders.
City government up into now has relied on architect- and builder-submitted paper plans, which had to be copied and physically carried between various city departments as part of the review process, said Robert Kyle, chief building official for the city.
But the approval by councilors authorizes the installation — and yearly licensing — of Accela Land Management Software, which will allow the plan submittal process to be entirely digitized. Anyone submitting plans will be able to track the status of an application online, Kyle said.
Kyle said it moves the department into the 21st century and should improve efficiency.
"It does allow for that simultaneous distribution and review of plans," he told city councilors.
Councilors voted 5-0 to approve the purchase.
The city has fielded criticism in recent years over its construction review processes, something city officials have been attempting to address over the past year.
Steve Chavira, executive director of the Las Cruces Home Builders Association, applauded the move, saying it should be big step forward in improving the process.
"We certainly agree this is something that needs to be implemented here," he said. "We look forward to it."
Kyle said the first phase of the software implementation, expected to cost $225,776, should be in place by July. And the second phase, expected to cost $377,241, will be in place six months after that.
City Manager Robert Garza said the $225,776 will come from within salary savings and other savings cobbled together from within the 2015-16 budget.
After the initial cost of the software installation, the city will pay $96,393 a year for 40 software licenses, he said.
"I think it's an excellent idea to update our technology so that we're good stewards and provide good service to our constituents," said Councilor Kasandra Gandara.
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