City permit process going digital

DOWNEY - The City Council Tuesday gave Mayor Mario Guerra the go-ahead to execute a professional services agreement with Accela Inc. to "configure and install" a permit tracking software system which will track the movement of city-processed projects, from submittal to project completion.Deputy city manager/community development Gilbert Livas noted in his report that currently the manually issued permits, using only pen and paper, use too much of staff time and makes interdepartmental communications difficult, which sometimes results in the sharing of incomplete or inaccurate information. The proposed new software system, which will primarily be used by the Planning, Building, Code Enforcement, Engineering and Fire Prevention departments, will further simplify, Livas wrote, the issuance of planning approvals, building permits, encroachment permits, code enforcement notice of violations, etc. Accela Inc. was chosen from among several bidders because of its proven expertise and experience in handling such systems with, it is alleged, more than 500 government agencies worldwide. It is anticipated that Accela will install the system on the city's network, test the system, and train staff on its uses. This should take nine months, with a "go live" date slated for May 2010. When misgivings were aired by Guerra as to its price tag of $647,467 in the context of current cutbacks and economies, Livas pointed out that the expense is a categorical expense, specific only to the use it applies, and chargeable to the Records Management Account covered by Records Management fees. In other action, the Council: •Approved the Memorandum of Understanding with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in order to receive a reimbursement for the city's reporting of FY2007 transit data (including the city's Dial-A-Ride transit services) to the National Transit Database through the MTA's consolidated report; •Approved a Subrecipient agreement with Beyond Shelter, a nonprofit organization providing a proven homeless prevention and assistance program, under a new program using federal stimulus Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February 2009; the total fund amount granted was $611,634 with $596,539 budgeted for operations and the balance of $15,296 set aside for general administration and oversight obligations; •Adopted a resolution amending the Master Lease-Purchase Agreement with Oshkosh Capital by including Lease Schedule No. 126999000 in the amount of $1,048,174 for two replacement Pierce Fire Apparatus fire pumper trucks; •Approved the plans and specifications for the installation of a $180,000 security lighting in Treasure Island Park, and granted authority to advertise for bids; •Rescheduled the Sanitary Sewer System Master Plan workshop to Tuesday, October 6, at 5 p.m.; city manager Gerald Caton estimates the session should take some two hours, while Guerra suggested that perhaps the City Goals project can also be taken up then; and •Heard the mayor present certificates of recognition to former Parking Place commissioners; his Diakonia (servant) award to Katie Piazza; issue proclamations regarding the "One Book, One Community" program, "Family Day - A day to eat dinner with your children," and October as "Lupus Awareness Month"; and present a certificate of achievement to John Michicoff and his staff for excellence in financial reporting, from the Government Finance Officers Association. The next regular public Council meeting will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at City Hall, 11111 Brookshire Ave.

********** Published: September 25, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 23