The CRCOG Regional On-Line Permitting system allows Connecticut residents and businesses to apply, pay for, and receive building and other permits on-line. They can also track the status of their permits as they move through the approval process. On the back end, towns can use the system to manage the permit review, approval, and inspections process electronically.
This system is the first program of The Connecticut Regional E-Government Initiative (CREGI), sponsored by the Capitol Region Council of Governments to promote more responsive, customer friendly, and efficient local government services through a regional approach to technology.
Currently, to obtain even the simplest permit from a town in Connecticut applicants need to drive to city hall, fill out forms, and submit them. When the permit application is received, a clerk needs to manually verify that the contractor has the appropriate license and insurance, and then manually enter all of the information into a computer system or use a paper filing system to track the permit through the approval process. The actual permit must either be mailed to the applicant or be picked up at city hall.
The new system will automate many elements of the permitting process. Simple permits will be obtainable over the internet, and the process of verifying contractor licenses and ensuring that no taxes are owed where the construction is taking place will be automated. A similar effort in Washington State yielded the following results: Contractors will save over $400,000 in direct labor costs in one year using the system … utilization for online permits was 49 percent and some agencies have exceeded 60 percent utilization. The total number of over-the-counter permits issued has also gone up as much as 20 percent. Permit counter lines are shorter, freeing staff to spend more time with customers that need assistance with more complex projects.
On-line permitting will yield direct environmental benefits – getting cars off the road and reducing fuel usage as contractors can skip the drive to city hall for obtaining simple permits. It will provide a highly visible example of how a regional approach can lead to improved services and greater efficiency. It will enhance economic development by making construction, remodeling, and other development projects easier and less costly. It will encourage residents and business owners to get required permits. Finally it will help hard working municipal staff work more efficiently in a time of tightening budgets and reduced staffing.