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Proposed Re-organization of Planning, Permitting, and Code Enforcement Presentation to the Lowell City Council June 1, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Proposed Re-organization of Planning, Permitting, and Code Enforcement Presentation to the Lowell City Council June 1, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Proposed Re-organization of Planning, Permitting, and Code Enforcement Presentation to the Lowell City Council June 1, 2010

2 Re-organization The proposed re-organization involves Planning and Development, Zoning, Inspectional Services, Health, Electrical, Historic, and Conservation. The re-organization concentrates not only on improvements in the deficient aspects of certain departments, but also focuses on the successful implementation of the City ’ s master plan, neighborhood plans, and sustainability of operations. With this re-organization, there will be improvements in customer service, public health and safety, planning, economic development, and code enforcement. There will be an expeditious permitting process, consistency, and employee accountability.

3 Issues & Problems Currently, permitting and code enforcement functions are spread out over five different departments: Inspectional Services (Merrimack Street) DPW Electrical Inspectors (Middlesex Street) Health Inspectors (Pine Street) Fire Prevention (Mammoth Road) Planning Board, Historic, Conservation (Arcand Drive) Personnel management – questionable levels of employee productivity, deficient monitoring of the quantity and quality of services provided Insufficient concern about public health and safety Ongoing investigation conducted by the IG and other law enforcement agencies Large backlog of inspections

4 Additional Opportunities Improve customer service for project developers, builders, citizens, and abutters Streamline permit processes to support economic development which builds the City’s tax base and creates jobs Simplify the permit process so that more homeowners and builders will obtain required permits improving public safety Better integrate code enforcement and development review with neighborhood planning Provide more consistent communication with the public about permitting and code enforcement issues

5 Proposal Create two new divisions under the Department of Planning & Development –Division of Development Services –Division of Planning and Community Development Division of Development Services –Code Enforcement: All inspectional services (excluding fire) will be moved to this division –Project Review (Land-Use Boards) Division of Planning and Community Development –Housing –Economic Development –Planning and Project Management –Community Development This new division will be lead by a deputy director Consolidate all inspectional services (excluding fire) into that division

6 New Organizational Chart

7 Transferred Personnel A. Inspectional Services All current positions B. Health Sr. Code Enforcement Inspector Sanitary Code Inspectors (5) Head Clerk Principal Clerk C. Department of Public Works Head Clerk (Electrical Permits) Consolidation will require that personnel from several departments be transferred to Planning & Development. Physically, the Development Services Division will be located on the second floor of city hall.

8 Staffing Existing PersonnelProposed Personnel Positions to be Deleted City Electrician/Wire Inspector Asst. City Electrician/Wire Inspector Positions to be Created City Electrician Wire Inspector Vacant Funded Positions to be Eliminated Director of Planning and Permitting (DPD) Sanitary Code/Health Inspector (Health) Data Entry Clerk (Health) Vacant Unfunded Positions to be Filled Deputy Director Neighborhood Planner Assistant Planner Vacant Funded Positions to be Filled Building Commissioner Community Development Assistant Vacant Funded Positions to be Filled Building Commissioner Community Development Assistant Full-Time Position to be Reduced to Part-Time Sealer of Weights and Measures Full-Time Position to be Reduced to Part-Time Sealer of Weights and Measures Net Impact on Head Count: Reduction of.3 FTEs Net Fiscal Impact: Small immediate savings plus reduction of overtime costs

9 Key Personnel Deputy Director – will provide management oversight and accountability without which existing problems will not be resolved; will provide leadership to implement and maintain a high standard for development services Building Commissioner – is required by state law; will provide technical expertise in code enforcement to complement the management role of the Deputy Director Neighborhood Planner – will ensure that neighborhood visions and citizen perspectives will be reflected in project review and code enforcement and will further the City’s sustainability initiatives Assistant Planner – will help ensure that all land use boards receive consistent professional advice and support Community Development Assistant – will help maintain and obtain additional grant funding to continue to reduce the overall cost of the DPD to the City general fund

10 Inspectors MunicipalityPopulationTotalResidents per Inspector Somerville74,405174,377 Bridgewater25,18555,037 Gloucester30,27365,046 Quincy35,0806.55,397 Worcester182,596306,087 Lowell105,167176,186 Lawrence72,043116,549 Malden56,3408.56,628 Haverhill60,52178,646 Fall River90,931109,093 Quincy92,339109,234 Leominster41,303410,326 Westfield40,072313,357 Reorganization keeps our number of inspectors consistent with other communities

11 Fiscal Impact Reorganization is driven primarily by non- financial factors Small immediate savings vs. the status quo The real financial benefit lies in the potential for increased permit, inspection, and tax revenues: increased efficiency a more customer-friendly process which will motivate more people to obtain required permits increased economic development Potential for reduction in expenses as operations become more computerized, efficient, and accountable

12 Fiscal Impact (cont.) The proposal offsets its costs with a variety of cost-savings measures including: Vacant positions to be filled are either funded or paired with a vacant funded position being eliminated Non-City funding is projected to increase by $76,000 Reorganizing electrical inspection staffing will save $30,000 in base salaries (not including overtime) Vacancy reserve made possible by a larger department saves approximately $30,000 (similar to LPD & LFD) Eliminating the secretary stipends for land-use boards Opportunities for additional savings from reduction in overtime expenses Opportunities for additional savings by eliminating redundant operational line items in combined department

13 Benefits Improves customer service, including: a) one-stop permit and inspections desk b) upgrade of computer system to provide up-to-date project status for employees, management, citizens, and contractors Improves communication and collaboration among inspectors and departments, including: a) interdepartmental meetings b) shared administration and joint meetings of boards c) proactive strategy to address neighborhood hot spots and common issues d) similar districts for Inspectors, Police, DPW

14 Benefits (cont.)

15 Improves code enforcement Improves public health and safety Streamlines development and permitting process Improves neighborhood planning and preservation of neighborhood character Enhances sustainability planning for water, energy, and other conservation measures Enhances economic development Emphasizes sound personnel administration practices: hiring, job descriptions, training, management, accountability

16 Benefits (cont.) Eliminates the conflict and potential liability issues of having the wire inspector inspect his/her own work or that of their staff Electrical services for City buildings and infrastructure can be better integrated with Lands & Buildings and Street Divisions of DPW City electricians can address basic maintenance needs for rented City facilities like the Senior Center saving the cost of hiring outside contractors Health department can now focus on community health priorities, including: Pandemic flu Foodborne diseases Hazardous releases Natural disasters

17 Outreach Meetings with all impacted collective bargaining units Meetings with all impacted current department heads Meetings with staff from all impacted departments Meeting with the Chairs of the Planning, Zoning, Conservation, and Historic Boards Meeting with neighborhood group leaders Meeting with the Board of Health Open public meeting with builders, developers, engineers, and attorneys

18 Transition If approved, the implementation of these proposed changes will be phased in over time Office space Personnel relocation Hiring of personnel Computer systems upgrades Staff training Development and implementation of management systems for operations and accountability

19 Summary The proposed re-organization will integrate various functions in order to provide a well- rounded, collaborative, and efficient system for planning, development, and code enforcement. The guiding vision of this re-organization is that a new approach is required for the delivery of certain services. Higher standards of service are necessary if the City is to be a livable, workable, and enlivened community for years to come.

20 Proposed Re-organization of Planning, Permitting, and Code Enforcement Presentation to the Lowell City Council June 1, 2010

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