innovation

New Priority Area: Permitting!

When people think about neighborhood development and economic development, they often think of construction, new buildings, renovations, small businesses, and jobs.  However, they don’t often think about the behind the scenes work that goes into those larger efforts. People spend countless hours planning, working, and developing their projects.  They spend time and money to create something that will not only impact their lives, but the entire community.

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One part of this behind-the-scenes work involves obtaining approval from the City.  This approval often comes in the form of permits. The City of Syracuse issues dozens of different types of permits, and many times individual projects require multiple permits.  To obtain permits, customers currently have to come in person to Central Permit Office to complete paper applications and drop off paper project plans. From there, applicants’ plans are disseminated to several different city departments for approval.  The process can be long and tedious.

About a year ago we established a Performance Management Program. As part of this program, we set goals for how long it should take to approve different types of permit applications.  Unfortunately though, we are oftentimes missing these goals.

  • Residential renovation - 2 weeks

  • Residential new construction - 4 weeks

  • Commercial renovation - 6 weeks

  • Commercial new construction - 8 weeks

Permitting Performance Management Dashboard from June 20, 2019.

Permitting Performance Management Dashboard from June 20, 2019.

In an attempt to meet these goals, and ultimately improve the neighborhood and economic development process in Syracuse, we are excited to announce that our next Innovation Priority Area is Permitting.  Over the next year we will launch a comprehensive series of projects and initiatives to improve permitting customer experience, operations, communication, and process.

Check out the official announcement from Mayor Walsh below, and be sure to follow along on innovatesyracuse.com to learn more about this work!

Development of the Snow Plow Map

Development of the Snow Plow Map

The creation of the mapping software took the form of three parts: Planning, Development, and Deployment. Planning was a 3.5 month process, while Development took 2.5 months, and deployment is ongoing. The following post details the first iteration of the program.

Tracking Snow Plows

Tracking Snow Plows

The City of Syracuse is one of the snowiest cities on record within the United States. Given this fact, it was deemed important that the residents of Syracuse should be able to see when their streets were plowed. During snow storms, the City of Syracuse sees an increased number of calls from residents telling us a street was not plowed or inquiring when their street was last plowed. By having a tool like the snow plow map we can be more transparent and open about our operations…

Performance Management

Performance Management

We are excited to announce that the City of Syracuse is launching a new Performance Management Program. This is a program that allows the entire organization to create alignment and work together to achieve shared goals. We call these goals objectives and key results, and the Performance Management Program utilizes an agile approach to monitor our progress towards them.

Financial Operations Tiger Team

Financial Operations Tiger Team

Currently at the City, there are over 100 fiscal staff enterprise-wide, including 35 employees assigned within individual departments. This decentralization can cause inefficiencies and inconsistencies in our financial operations and is regularly cited as a weakness in our annual audit. To help address the challenges that come with this structure, today, the City of Syracuse is launching a financial operations pilot project.

Upstate Data Summit

Upstate Data Summit

[VIDEO] On June 6th, Mark Headd, in partnership with Syracuse University’s iSchool, organized and hosted the first-ever Upstate Data Summit, a conference of data officers and analysts from across upstate New York. At the conference, public data and innovation professionals held panels on how cities including Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, and Binghamton can efficiently gather and use data to improve everything from housing safety to road & sidewalk repair.

Our Summer Storytellers

Our Summer Storytellers

This summer, we started a new internship program to help tell the stories of civic innovation happening in City Hall! Three interns have joined us to learn, write, and produce videos about the innovative work that goes on here every day. Please allow me to introduce you to our storytelling interns:

Plowing Through the Data Hackathon

Plowing Through the Data Hackathon

Today, we are excited to release some of the snowplow data as part of the “Plowing Through the Data” hackathon, put on in partnership with the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and AT&T. We did a similar hackathon last year, and look forward to seeing what ideas and projects people come up with.