Software upgrade to streamline permissions in Skagit County, Wash.

ByLance T. Lee

Nov 14, 2022


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

Although the software has been approved, it won’t go live until at least 2024.

The three commissioners unanimously agreed to work with Tyler Technologies to draft a contract for its EnerGov software – a county staff program called the top pick of seven bidders.

“It’s been the industry standard for a long time,” said Hal Hart, director of planning and development services.

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

“There may be a backlog in one area that doesn’t exist in another. It will be easier to identify them and get the pipes back in motion,” Cummins said.

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

County Commissioner Lisa Janicki said improving permit response time is a top priority.

She said planning and development departments handle between 600 and 800 calls a week regarding permits, and they need to reduce that number.

Mike Almvig, director of county information services, 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 permit system that isn’t supported,” he said.

Once the two parties agree on a contract, the implementation of the program will take 12 to 18 months, Almvig said.

Final costs are not yet known, but he said he expects to spend $600,000 in the first year, and about $130,000 per year thereafter.

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

“It will be a complex project,” he said. “We have a lot of work.”

Janicki said she wants this project to be Information Services’ top priority and is open to talking about the possibility of hiring additional staff to help.

“Waiting behind the scenes are other big data projects,” she said. “If we can get this one through, those other needs can be met as well. That will be their turn.”

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

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