City Commission Contemplates Transition to GovBuilt Permitting & Licensing Software

City Commission Contemplates Transition to GovBuilt Permitting & Licensing Software

In a recent City Commission meeting held on Monday, city officials deliberated on granting authorization to the City Manager for entering into an agreement with GovBuilt, a leading provider of permitting and licensing software solutions.

Since the implementation of The Davenport Group's Land Management Software (LAMA) in 2018, the City has relied on it for managing permitting, property maintenance violations, licensing, and planning applications. However, persistent issues with the current software provider's inability to implement necessary updates have prompted the Community & Development Services department to seek a new permitting software solution in the 2024 budget.

GovBuilt, currently overseeing the City's transition to a new website, offers a comprehensive suite of permitting, licensing, and digital form solutions. What sets GovBuilt apart is its proven track record with multiple counties and cities in Kansas, including Saline County, Riley County, Junction City, and McPherson, utilizing its services for permitting and licensing needs.

After a thorough evaluation of GovBuilt's capabilities and its successful collaboration on the City's website and special event permit development, city staff proposes to proceed with GovBuilt as the exclusive source for permitting and licensing software. Per the Purchasing Policy, the City Manager can approve sole source purchases under specific circumstances, and GovBuilt meets these criteria by ensuring continuity of services and visual harmony with the existing website and forms provider, creating a seamless experience for both citizens and staff.

GovBuilt's unique workflow technology simplifies the creation of custom forms, permits, and licenses, enabling staff members without coding backgrounds to design and modify them effortlessly. The platform's flexibility, with 20% standard components and 80% customization to meet specific local needs, ensures a tailored system for Salina's permitting and licensing requirements.

Other notable features of the GovBuilt platform include direct links from citizen complaints on the website to code enforcement administration, full GIS parcel integration, integration with various software applications (Laserfiche, Bluebeam, Microsoft Outlook, etc.) at no extra cost, and compatibility with the International Code Council (ICC) to streamline plan review processes. GovBuilt also offers unlimited custom reporting capabilities.

While alternative vendors may provide permitting and licensing software, the integration of GovBuilt with the city's website software promises operational efficiencies and consistency. Transitioning to a new software package often entails uncertainties in terms of performance and support. However, the City of Salina has experienced a positive partnership with GovBuilt during its recent website implementation, further endorsing its choice as the preferred software provider.

To execute an agreement with GovBuilt, staff requests City Commission approval for an amount of $240,050. This cost breakdown includes:

Additionally, there is a proposal to expedite the project by commencing implementation in 2023, leveraging GovBuilt's existing presence in Salina due to the ongoing website project. Delaying the project until 2024 would require waiting for an opening in GovBuilt's schedule, potentially causing significant delays. The implementation is expected to take 6 to 8 months, during which GovBuilt will provide training and support to ensure the smooth transition of 42 permit types, 73 license types, 29 violation types, and 48 planning application types to the new system.

Comparatively, the implementation cost of the City's current LAMA permitting and licensing software in 2017 amounted to $184,950. After the contract with The Davenport Group ended in 2022, the City continued to use LAMA through a yearly subscription, incurring an annual cost of $60,280.77 with a 7% annual increase.

Regarding the fiscal aspect, the City has allocated $200,000 in the 2024 budget for new permitting software. Staff proposes initiating the new software implementation in 2023, with an upfront cost of $58,000 due at the project's outset and the remaining $182,050 to be paid in 2024.

The proposed annual subscription cost for GovBuilt's permitting package is $58,000, subject to a 5% annual technology fee increase. This fee covers unlimited permitting, licensing, and planning projects for departments currently using LAMA, including Community & Development Services, Public Works - Engineering Division, and the City Clerk's Office. Furthermore, other city departments may potentially benefit from GovBuilt for licensing or permits, leading to future cost savings. The GovBuilt proposal also allows for an unlimited expansion of forms and workflows built by the City after going live, accommodating various permits, projects, and licensing requirements not currently managed by LAMA. The cost of adding additional departments with unlimited users is $1,500 per department, added to the annual subscription cost.

The motion for authorization was approved 5-0.

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