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Better government through civic engagement

Planning and Building: Pima County Spotlights 4 Benefits of Going Digital

Accela

Pima County Modernizes Planning, Permitting and Inspection Processes with Accela Community Development Solutions

Editor’s note: This is a case study of Pima County, Arizona, that used Accela to improve its permitting and planning department operations.Key Benefits: Staff save an average of 8-hours in processing time per week Reduced office foot traffic, and 24/7 online access to residents Quick reporting for better workload management Reduced permit turnaround times Pima County utilizes Accela Building and Planning for all permitting and planning functions including inspections, code enforcement, record searches and more. Each year, a total of 35,000 building inspections are conducted within the county limits, presenting processing challenges for the agency…. Continue reading

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The State of Cannabis Regulation

Judy Steele
Editor’s Note: This blog was first published in The Accela Cannabis Regulation Newsletter, that seeks to inform regulators of the many industry and legislative  changes across North America. Questions and notes may be directed to [email protected] Legalization unfolds in many ways when states are first faced with this new market. Often, regulations change rapidly as the regulatory framework is planned and put into place. As we’ve seen, there isn’t one solution that works for everyone. Cannabis regulation is consistently controversial across all levels of government and the lack of federal oversight seems to add to those complications. Uncertainty also remains as jurisdictions continue to be faced with the growing support from constituents regarding legalization and the ability to implement a regulatory framework that supports the competing demands of a new industry…. Continue reading
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Building Safety Month: Tips to Safeguard Your Community

Accela
Building codes can seem frustrating. They demand building plan approvals, collaboration with city planning and building departments and they create a chain of checkups and inspections along the way. Yet building codes also protect residents and save lives and this is why Accela celebrates May as Building Safety Month. The International Code Council (ICC) has set the time aside to call attention to the significance of building codes and provide education to governments and communities about how they can leverage this regulatory tool to protect residents during times of disaster. “All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events and structural collapse,” the ICC notes…. Continue reading

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What Legalized Hemp Means for Local Government

Accela

A Q&A with Accela’s Director of Cannabis Regulation Judy Steele

Hemp is an emerging market that is priming itself for an aggressive U.S. expansion. After the 2018 Farm Bill, that officially legalized hemp at the federal level, growers and distributers are planning to unleash a wave of new products and services. What this means for governments is a new regulatory landscape fueled by an unprecedented demand. There are more than 25,000 products globally that use hemp and these products touch many industries. Hemp can be used in automotive parts, furniture, textiles, construction supplies, cosmetics and in food and beverages — without the psychoactive qualities of traditional marijuana…. Continue reading

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Elevate Your Agency at Accelarate

Accela

Early Bird Registration Through May 31st

Accela’s premier customer conference is fast approaching and this is your opportunity to get access to this industry event through early bird registration, saving attendees $250 off the regular price.Held in Denver, from Oct. 6-9, Accelarate brings together the best of government with a series of insightful keynotes, thought provoking panels, breakout discussions, training sessions and awards. The 2019 conference is expected to be the biggest yet and will provide a unique opportunity for government leaders to get insider insights on the latest technologies and innovation tactics.The conference will host nearly 30 exhibiting partners and offer more than 70 hours of product training and customer- and partner-led sessions…. Continue reading

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Unlock Your Inner Superhero for National Superhero Day

Accela

Take this quiz to learn your Civic Superhero type and get resources to supercharge your community​

April 28th is National Superhero Day, a day that honors heroes, both real and fictional, that inspire us to do better and achieve more.To celebrate, Accela is recognizing government innovators and do-gooders that are making a difference in their communities with our Civic Superhero Intel Brief, a set of resources that offers research, strategies and case studies that can empower you and your government to improve services. In this Civic Superhero questionnaire below, we’ve identified three superhero types and have a list of resources in the intel brief for each…. Continue reading

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Powering Through Pain Points to Protect Public Health

Hana Albarazi
Trying to explain what the field of environmental health is to people on the outside can feel like speaking a different language. People often think, “an environmental health department is where they focus on environmental sustainability, or parks and recreation, right?” Not totally. Environmental health departments often oversee as many as 40 different programs — separate business units — which are often governed by different regulations, budgets, and funding sources. This makes it a somewhat unique government agency, with unique challenges and pain points for environmental health leaders, staff and IT administrators. Environmental Health departments are most commonly known for inspecting restaurants, or monitoring water quality,… Continue reading

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Recipe for Success: Manatee County Shows How to Move to the Cloud

Adam Stone
Success requires perseverance. In Manatee County, Fla., vigorous building and development activity has been testing the limits of old manual processes. At 893 square miles, this county of some 385,000 citizens has been performing about 3,500 property inspections a week. In early 2018 county officials implemented an Accela solution to automate and streamline that workload. The new solution has reduced paper processes, modernized back-end operations, and opened up new avenues of information-sharing across county offices. “We liked the thought of having just one system that would allow all our areas to collaborate with each other,” said Glenna Campana, Manatee County, Fla.’s business services manager for its Building and Development Services Department…. Continue reading

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California Cannabis Control Summit Attendees Say Preparing for Regulation is Critical

Accela

State and local leaders ready for the rapid rise of the new cannabis market

Whether for or against recreational cannabis, local officials at the 2019 California Cannabis Control Summit were unanimous in their support to find effective regulatory tools and policies to manage the emerging industry. The Summit, held from April 10 – 11 in Sacramento, convened state and local leaders to discuss the challenges and solutions discovered in the first year of cannabis legalization in California. Attendees included a wide variety of public officials from state senators, mayors, police chiefs, county supervisors, planners and other state and local officials. Topics prepared officials with insights on cannabis taxation policies,… Continue reading

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Customer Spotlight: Pinellas County, Florida

Jason Christensen
Pinellas County, Florida Courthouse
Like many jurisdictions, Pinellas County, Fla. struggles under a land use regimen that can sometimes seem painfully slow. It’s a source of frustration to builders, and can be an impediment to economic development. “Plan review is probably the longest portion of the approval process,” said David Howdeshell, a project sponsor in Pinellas County’s Building and Development Review Services. He’s heading up a reinvention of the process, implementing Accela land use products to make the wheels turn more smoothly. Plan review can encompass a staggering range of participants, with as many as 18 separate agencies weighing in on the process, and no automated means to streamline the system…. Continue reading

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