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With the Rise of Hemp, Regulators Look for New Tools

Accela

Finding solutions that simplify the licensing, inspection and oversight of hemp cultivation

From California’s Silicon Valley, through the Midwest, and into Florida’s verdant farmlands, hemp is advancing rapidly, a trend that has prompted regulators and businesses to seek out new tools to monitor and manage the developing market. After its legalization through the 2018 Farm Bill analysts have high expectations for the $1.1 billion industry that is expected to more than double its worth by 2020. Hemp farming is currently underway in 24 states, U.S. hemp acreage has tripled between 2017 and 2018, and there are currently more than 25,000 hemp-based products already in circulating in the market.  … Continue reading
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Customer Spotlight: Tacoma Rethinks the Citizen Experience with Digital Permitting

Accela
Mount Rainier over Tacoma WA waterfront. Building solutions.
In the city offices of Tacoma, Washington, hearing the community is all about “hearing the customer.” Speed, accessibility, efficiency, transparency, convenience, these hallmarks of customer service are part of the city’s larger strategy to engage residents and drive community development. Jennifer Ward, Tacoma’s management analyst, said digital tools are essential in this effort as regulations change to adapt to new businesses, technologies and shifts in citizen expectations. Evidence of this can be seen in Tacoma’s recent modernization effort to replace and upgrade its permitting tool. Ward said Tacoma’s Planning and Development Services had struggled with an older enterprise-wide system that had been re-purposed to handle permit applications…. Continue reading

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Charlotte County’s Digitizes Disaster Recovery Services

Accela
charlotte county
PHOTO: The U.S. Coast Guard conducts an overflight assessment of Punta Gorda in Charlotte County, Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. On the morning of September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit land, ripping off roofs, flooding coastal cities, and amassing $50 billion in damages. Yet, despite the destruction and devastation, officials in Charlotte County, Florida, showed they had the people, plan and tools to ensure residents had immediate support to begin the recovery.With a unique geography, that includes 858 square miles of Florida’s gulf coast, Charlotte is home to both excellent beaches and outdoor activities, as well as environmental challenges that include a large flood plain and hurricane prone areas…. Continue reading

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The ‘Love My City’ Campaign Offers New Tools to Elevate City Services and Improve Policy Making

Jason Shueh
Love My City

The National League of Cities and Accela’s #LoveMyCity campaign offers local leaders, citizens and changemakers best practices, policy resources and a digital toolkit to drive modern, citizen-centric services

In a world rife with conflict, filled with political discord and debate, our neighborhoods and communities have always stood as a unifying force, acting as bridges to join people together in common goals, ideals and challenges. That constant — yet often unspoken — power is what Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson calls love.“In this day and age, we spend a lot of time talking about our differences, our divisions and our struggles. But the reality is,… Continue reading

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Three Ways Cities Can Take Advantage of Summer’s Short-term Rental Boom

Accela
summer short-term rentals
Whether travelers stay at a seaside cottage in the Florida Keyes, an hacienda in Arizona, or go all out and splurge on a Park Avenue Penthouse in New York, summer’s short-term rental boom is here and cities should prepare. New data from Second Measure, a company specializing in consumer spending research, shows residents are spending more on short-term rental services like Airbnb than they have in the industry’s history, shaking up the top hotel giants, and grabbing more market share of summer’s high-volume hotel and tourism market. The growth of this emerging industry offers governments new opportunities to collect, or recapture, tax revenues through digital regulatory tools and to nurture economic development in their communities…. Continue reading

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Four Ways GIS Can Make Your City Smarter

Accela
In this Esri Story Map, Esri shows where the housing prices have grown the most unaffordable for residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. State and local governments are using GIS mapping like this to inform policy and improve services. Cities are growing denser with residents, city services are in high demand, and all while leaders struggle to balance tight budgets and limited resources. This is the common plight of many state and local governments throughout the U.S. as they seek for faster, more efficient ways to serve their communities.As a response to these challenges, departments and agencies of all types are learning about the power of Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping to get a clearer picture of operations and to deliver services more efficiently…. Continue reading

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Grand Rapids Deploys Digital Strategy to Drive Faster Turnaround Times, Better Service

Accela

Grand Rapids, Michigan, Development Center Manager Louis Canfield talks about how the city leverages effective digital tools to meet citizen expectations

Today Grand Rapids, Michigan, is all about fast and efficient service. It’s a city that prides itself on making sure its residents have what they need, when they need it. But ask the city’s Development Center Manager Louis Canfield how Grand Rapids does this and he’ll tell you it’s a combination of the having the right service strategy and right technology to get the job done. In 2009, Grand Rapids selected Accela to support its Neighborhood Improvement, Fire, Planning, Environmental Services, and Engineering departments through the Accela Civic Platform…. Continue reading
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Is Your Community Ready for the Next Health Outbreak?

Accela
EH assessment

Take this assessment to see if your health department has the right tools to confront tomorrow’s environmental health challenges

When it comes to community health issues, cities seek support from their local health department first. Food poisoning, pest infestations, water contamination, hazardous material spills, these are just a few critical challenges departments confront daily. The right tools are essential to respond to these issues. Health departments need tools that ensure they can deliver frequent field inspections, fast permitting transactions, clear reports and provide an easy and accessible way for residents to submit information and make requests. In the Accela Environmental Health Assessment you can answer a set of simple questions to gauge your environmental health readiness based on your current tools and processes…. Continue reading

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Building Capacity by Maximizing the Software Demo

Darryl Booth
Like test driving a car along a pre-approved route or laying on a mattress under the fluorescent lights of a showroom, we are sometimes expected to make critically important recommendations with just a sliver of information. This experience can also occur in your office when your team joins a meeting in which a potential vendor demonstrates (demos) its software. Eventually you’re asked, “What did you think?” I’ve attended hundreds of such meetings and for the most part, all participants are keenly interested in matching a health department’s needs to the product’s capabilities. The demo is a “good one” when the features match your needs and interest is raised…. Continue reading

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8 Planning Trends That Will Transform Your Community

Accela

We look at the tools and agile planning strategies that will streamline the next generation of planning, zoning, and code enforcement processes

Editors Note: This blog is based off of the Accela white paper 8 Trends Transforming Community Planning. The world’s population is projected to increase from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion by 2050, and with this growth, the characteristics and demands of the population are changing. To scale and enhance services planners must be innovative, searching out new tools, and new ways to solve problems. Cities are getting denser and larger, life expectancies are longer, increasing demand for nearby medical and care services,… Continue reading

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