City Spotlight: Ventura, California

VenturaKnown for its beautiful harbors, parks, and beaches, the City of Ventura still lives up to its 18th century nickname as “the City of good fortune.”  This vibrant beach town of over 100,000 lies in between Malibu and Santa Barbara and overlooks the Santa Cruz Islands.

Behind every healthy city are good community development practices and efficient public services.  To this end, the City has overhauled its legacy land management system with the EnerGov system.  Since deployment, the City continues to increase efficiencies by centralizing data, streamlining processes, and improving inter-Departmental cooperation.  Significant returns on investment with this deployment include:

Improving Reporting Requirements: The City has improved upon its reporting abilities by leveraging the EnerGov enterprise data access model to ensure the proper information can be retrieved for informed decision making processes internally and constituent involvement externally.  One such benefit is for the building records disclosure report process within the City.  The current law mandates real estate sellers to request building records disclosure reports and provide this disclosure to respective buyers.  Today, these requests are managed as a case within EnerGov’s workflow model and citizens are now engaging City Hall from home, work, or any other remote location via fax or the internet.

Improving Processes:  EnerGov’s cross-departmental workflow model has enabled the City to incorporate all relative departments throughout the review cycle process.  For example, Ventura’s Water Department can easily access their distributed reviews, process the review, and quickly link to case attribute information, if needed, via a simplified, user-intuitive “My Reviews” dashboard.   Andrew Stuffler, the City’s Chief Building Official stated “The department is now able to confirm, with proper documentation, the sanitary and water utilities in new and altered buildings.  Additionally, all other departments have access to verify these updates and to perform their reviews concurrently.  Linear workflow models are being replaced with more efficient concurrent review models with the EnerGov system.”

Improving Citizen Engagement:   The City launched its first Citizen Access GIS based web portal, allowing constituents to spatially search and retrieve information regarding planning, building & safety, business licensing, and code enforcement cases from one common user interface.  With the convenience of these services, the city not only increases efficiencies but strengthens citizen participation and collaboration.  “Pairing Esri’s geographical information products with EnerGov system creates an effective tool for efficiency,” says Andrew Stuffler.  “Providing constituents and interested parties the necessary information without draining internal resources is a win-win for the City and the public. City GIS staff are making the most of this pairing by providing current deployment and business data in a user-friendly map-based interface that updates data automatically.” The maps that are currently available can be viewed here:  http://maps.cityofventura.net/menu/index.htm

The City of Ventura continues to build upon its historical foundation by implementing the EnerGov system.  Streamlining processes, creating transparency and citizen engagement are key initiatives for ensuring the City of Ventura remains sustainable, livable, safe and vibrant.

Leveraging GIS to Improve an Agency’s Infrastructure Asset Management Process

GIS Asset MgtWithout a good management or budgeting process, a healthy infrastructure will often be left to the wayside to deteoriorate more rapidly according to Alex Marshall in Governing. The number of public assets a government agency manages is enormous. Bridges, sidewalks, sewers, fire hydrants and traffic lights all have to be monitored and maintained for wear and tear and repair. Even the paint on every stop sign needs to be accounted for should it become too dull for visibility. By keeping an accurate inventory of assets and up-to-date information on their conditions, government agencies can better evaluate, plan and budget for operating and maintenance costs.

GIS helps improve asset management by providing spatial information related to each asset. Within the infrastructure asset management world, managing this geographic data is important in order to efficiently schedule and dispatch work for routine maintenance work, repairs, collect information or do a major overhaul of upgrading assets as Philadelphia did when the city replaced 87,000 incandescent traffic lights with LED bulbs, with projected savings of $1 million per year.

GIS also helps to centralize, analyze and visualize geographic data to use resources more efficiently and understand the impact assets may have on each other. For instance, geospatial awareness can help an agency’s project when growing trees obscure traffic signs or power lines, and potential flooding zones can be calculated if a particular pipe was to burst. With an enterprise GIS, different departments can also access the same geographical data and strategically coordinate together or ensure that differing projects do not interfere with each other.

Even with dwindling resources and budget cuts, government agencies cannot afford to mismanage their public assets and infrastucture which will be more costly in the long run. An enterprise system tightly integrated with GIS can prove to be a cost-effective solution that helps government agencies to efficiently and effectively manage their assets.

To learn more about EnerGov’s Asset Management suite, click here: http://www.energov.com/asset-management.html