Agency issues 100% of permits within regulated timeframe and collects $60,000 in back fees
Danny Nevarez, Acting Deputy Director with the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, wished for a more transparent solution to increase Air Quality Program efficiency. The Programs maintained duplicate data for the same facilities in as many as eight different databases and spreadsheets, and limited reporting options meant that critical information was difficult to assess.
Additionally, Albuquerque’s Air Quality Division had to rely on a slow and inefficient City central accounting system to process payments, and a tremendous backup of pending applications prevented the issuance of permits in a timely manner. “We had well over 100 pending permits, and we lacked internal communication about their statuses,” remembered Nevarez.
HOW ACCELA EMPOWERS ALBUQUERQUE
Albuquerque’s Consumer Health and Business Registration Programs were already using Accela Environmental Health
with great success, and Nevarez could see that the Air Quality Permitting and Vehicle Pollution divisions would benefit from similar consistency. Nevarez felt that Accela Environmental Health was the right fit because each Program had standard inspections and permitting tasks. “Permitting is permitting. You have an owner, you have a facility, you go out and perform inspections and you track compliance. Anyone who is doing permitting, enforcement and compliance—Accela Environmental Health is a perfect fit, no matter what industry you are talking about.”
However, some program leaders were hesitant, fearing that their air quality permits were too distinctive to be based off a template. Nevarez sat down with them to examine the documents and confirmed that as many as 90% would in fact fit a template.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After moving forward with Accela, each program now has the control and capacity to use comprehensive reports to create and track financial compliance. Customers no longer have to wait a month for a payment to be processed. The solution has enabled the City to setup a standardized collection workflow that automatically generates follow-up letters, mails post-inspection notifications and interfaces with a contracted collections vendor.
Nevarez’ favorite benefit is the transparency that comprehensive data management provides. The Programs can now run reports that quickly show the processing status of permits, the workloads of employees and overall productivity. The pending permit count is down by 50%, and 100% of permits are now issued within the regulated timeframe. The transparency that the solution delivers has provided division managers and department leadership the tools to increase revenue, lower pending permit counts, track performance and recognize jobs well done.