The Elizabethtown Planning and Development Department is looking to update its permitting software.

Director Jim Shaw said the department has been using its current building and electrical permit program for more than 10 years. It’s a program developed by Gerald Cole, the city’s GIS director, using Microsoft Access.

“It has worked well, but new software will pro­vide a number of benefits like merging all development-related permits into one program and moving the permitting process online,” he said.

The department looked at a number of commercial programs and narrowed the list to four. Of those, Shaw said SmartGov, a Dude Solutions software, is the preferred product. The initial cost will be $42,805.34, which includes the first year of service along with configuration of the software, migration of our existing data and training. The city’s cost for the second year will be $29,867.00.

With the new software, Shaw said contractors will be able to apply online, any time they like and without visiting city hall – a consideration made more important by the COVID pandemic.

He said the software will allow staff to perform its review and issue permits online. Contractors will be able to schedule inspections on a smartphone and inspectors will be able enter reports while on the job site using a tablet.

“With the pandemic, moving the process online is closer to a necessity than a luxury,” Shaw said. “It should prove much more convenient and efficient for everyone involved.”

Additionally, other departments will be able to use the software for similar permits such as the engineering department’s encroachment permit and the Stormwater Department’s EPSC permit, Shaw said. He said those can be linked to a building permit to streamline both the application process for contractors and the review process for staff.

Shaw shared information on the new software with Elizabethtown City Council during its work session. He said he anticipates the contract could go before council at the next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday because of the federal holiday next week.

If approved, Dude Solutions will begin work within a few weeks. It will take approximately six months to have it ready for public use, Shaw said.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or malford@thenewenterprise.com.

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