• Posted On: November 28, 2014

Let’s face it – mention the word “government” and something that comes to mind fairly quickly is “red tape.” The checks and balances can be frustrating for citizens who are just trying to make a living, like businesses in Boston that are required to get two permits for their fire alarm systems, one from the fire department and another from inspectional services.

State legislators often try to pass bills to make their state more business friendly, but the red tape businesses face at the local level can be anti-entrepreneurial. Property zoning can take far too long, especially for workers saddled with antiquated technology that slows them down.

Boston city council members recognize that the codes like the one requiring two permits for a single fire alarm system does nothing to establish a business-friendly atmosphere. They’ve also got issues with restrictive codes and zoning regulations, licensing regulations and various levels of professionalism through the different departments.

It is not uncommon for businesses to wait for months to open because of the zoning process in Boston. In fact, it can take months just to get on the Zoning Board of Appeals agenda. After being approved, it can take weeks to get certified by the city as a legal business.

Boston administrators are looking at improvements they can make, including bringing a point man or woman in to the mix to look out for small businesses and city government issues, like property zoning approval processes. They’re considering bringing in case management software to assist them in this endeavor.

Codes are put in place not to hinder a city’s progress, but to protect its citizens and aid in building a uniformed community. Government can be run more efficiently but not with the technology being used in many of city departments across the nation. For instance, for zoning inspectors still using spreadsheets to map out their tasks, they’re often doing the same work twice, once in the field and again back at the office as they put their report together.

When equipped with citizen mobile access, communities gain mobility with a tool they can use on handheld devices. Residents can install a customized app on their tablet computers and/or smartphones that allows them to make reports of their own. Whether it’s a streetlight that has burned out, weed problems at a local vacant property, potholes or abandoned vehicles. Citizen mobile access puts the power in the hands of the community.

It’s easy to use. All a resident needs to do is download the app, take a picture of the issue they’re concerned about, geo-locate the problem area and send it off in a report to the city. The case routing is automated, which means the appropriate agency department and/or staff member will instantly receive the citizen report. GIS integration allows for better tracking and parcel information. Residents really enjoy the fact that the app offers 24/7 real-time status updates on their case.

Comcate, the innovative company behind the software in Citizen Mobile Access, has worked with communities of many sizes to help improve the efficiencies involved with every day tasks. If your city government is having a hard time keeping up with zoning issues and inspections, contact Comcate today.

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