The city’s development services department staff worked with a vendor to expedite the launch of the permitting software to facilitate online transactions. The move will help customers comply with social distancing rules.
(TNS) — The city of Sarasota's development services department is rolling out new phone, online and mobile services that will make it easier for customers to do business with the city.
That could prove especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department's building division now accepts credit card payments for permits via an online portal.
The portal can be found by clicking on the "permits & licenses" button on the city's homepage, SarasotaFL.gov, and then clicking the "Building Permit Lookup/Pay Online" link.
The department has also launched an integrated voice response system that allows contractors and property owners to schedule, reschedule and cancel inspections and check the results through an automated phone line and text service. Next-day inspections can be scheduled until 9 p.m., depending on availability, by calling 941-263-6998 or by texting "schedule" to 844-394-2702.
The city's live inspections phone line (941-263-6418) and email (inspection@sarasotaFL.gov) are still available for customers who prefer to communicate directly with a representative.
"We're excited to be making these process improvements and give our customers the option to skip trips to our office if they choose," said Interim Development Services Director Gretchen Schneider. "We're always looking for ways we can be more efficient and enhance the customer service experience for our citizens and the development community."
Staff worked with the city's vendor to expedite the launch of the new permitting software to help facilitate online transactions so customers can comply with social distancing practices due to COVID-19.
The department has also established a drop box in the City Hall annex lobby for contact-free document pickups and drop-offs. Many other city services are available online at SarasotaFL.gov.
"I encourage all of our clients to use these new tools, as they allow for safer, more flexible interaction with the Building Division," said Building Official Larry Murphy. "Staff has worked very hard to make this a reality, and our clients will be able to interact with us remotely and effectively."
Since a state of emergency was declared in Florida in early March, the department's Building Division has processed more than 2,000 permit applications with a total construction value of more than $100 million and conducted thousands of inspections while adhering to social distancing.
©2020 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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