Pape lends clarity to permitting confusion, challenges Council President to get informed

City Councilman Tim Pape. Courtesy photo.

News release from Fort Wayne City Councilman Tim Pape:

Pape lends clarity to permitting confusion, challenges Council President to get informed

Fort Wayne City Councilman Tim Pape today corrected misstatements made Tuesday by Council President Mitch Harper about the joint City of Fort Wayne and Allen County permitting improvement plan. This crucial legislation is a key priority of the local business community in its collaborative work with local government to make Fort Wayne and Allen County a competitor for the high-paying jobs and economic investment needed for the area to thrive.

On Tuesday evening, Harper again claimed that the ordinance to streamline the permitting process lacks “benchmarks” and “accountability.” In fact, benchmarks, metrics and transparency are built into almost every aspect of the permitting improvements.

“At the suggestion of the business community, the bipartisan task force integrated benchmarks and metrics into nearly every element of the permitting improvements,” said City Councilman Tim Pape. “If Council President Harper had attended a briefing on permitting, he would have been informed. Our business leaders have made it clear that this is their priority action item. It’s about the future and making our community more welcoming to good jobs and private investment. Sadly, Harper has either chosen to be ill informed or he is willfully misleading the people he was elected to represent.”

Harper’s lack of information may be due to his decision not to participate in the briefing offered by the city administration to every member of City Council.

Earlier this week in a news release, the city explained that benchmarks and metrics have always been an integral component of the permitting improvements. These measurements include:

[list type=”black”]
[li]Permit-issuance Lifecycle Enhancements. To increase the speed for issuing permits, baseline data on the existing system will be created by capturing start-to-finish tracking times on the permit-process lifecycle. Based upon this information, areas of improvement will be delineated by a team of city, county and business leaders. Firm goals will then be defined to shorten the number of days required to get a permit. The goals will be coordinated with an implementation schedule to effect the changes as rapidly as possible. Results of this process will be posted on the new digital City-County Development Portal.[/li]
[li]Metrics-based Satisfaction Index. Over the past year, the task force has surveyed many local businesses. The results of the survey were used to establish benchmarks for improvement. Going forward, every business that requests a permit from the city or county will be invited to participate in the customer satisfaction survey. The task force will review all suggestions, spell out areas to be addressed and set a timeline for advancing customer satisfaction. The results of this opinion research, and the timely implementation of identified recommendations, will be published and can be followed online.[/li]
[li]Metrics-based Software Improvements. The new permitting software will provide an easily accessible view of the status of each permit application, giving immediacy to the process and real-time progress reports for city and county staff, as well as for those in the development community. The internal metrics of the system will also afford a comprehensive perspective of the permitting process, something currently unavailable, and ensure continuous process improvements.[/li]
[li]Expeditor Position to Improve Accountability. Assigned to the largest and most complex projects, the Chief Expeditor and an internal city-county team will guarantee development professionals direct points of contact and consistent support assuring the highest levels of customer service. The Expeditor, along with software training professionals, will only be needed for the first 18 months, in order to train city and county staff on the best practices for improving the permitting process. The strong recommendation of the business community is that this expeditor be hired from the development community, and not from within the city’s bureaucracy.[/li]

“We need a community that is united in our fight for good jobs and business investment, not elected officials who are scaring them away with delay tactics and false information,” said Councilman Pape.

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