Ranson is a small community with a very big vision for its future. Ranson is only 2% of the land area of Jefferson County however the city processes over 10% of the county’s new building starts. Unfortunately, the city lacked software to coordinate permit applications both internally to the city and externally with other permitting agencies. In 2017, I managed an intergovernmental project to implement a cloud-based permitting software. South Central Planning & Development Commission’s My Government Online permitting software was selected for all building and land development permitting jurisdictions in Jefferson County, West Virginia. This project took 6 months from initiation until the first application was processed through the software.
This software increased permit efficiency and staff capacity by over 30%, expedited permit plan reviews, and saved the city 75% in costs from previous software packages. Ranson was the first jurisdiction in the state to migrate to 100% digital applications for both building and planning which resulted in a 20% increase in permit applications to the city. The system interfaces with the County offices for addressing and impact fee collection. Quarterly reports are also generated and sent to the Assessor’s Office for accurate property assessments.
In early 2020 and throughout the pandemic, the City of Ranson was the only fully functioning permitting department in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. The cloud-based software allowed for a seamless transition to remote working for department staff and allowed applicants to submit permits through the online customer portal. This also resulted in increased land development application submissions because Ranson was one of the few jurisdictions able to process and issue building permits.