03/22/06 — City building permit fee increase will pay for technology update

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City building permit fee increase will pay for technology update

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 22, 2006 1:45 PM

Goldsboro residents and construction contractors seeking permits from the city Inspections Department will have to pay an additional $15 starting April 17. But city officials said the additional charge is for a good cause -- new technology.

The Goldsboro City Council approved a request made by Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra on Monday to attach a $15 technology fee to all permits issued by the department.

"Any and all permits issued after the 15th of April will have the fee placed upon them," he said. "Our department is a user-based operation. To keep up with the development community and the technology they are using, we have to charge this fee."

Cianfarra added that the additional money collected will be used to improve the department's technology, providing inspectors with new laptop computers and printers and new software.

The new equipment will help make the permitting process faster and more efficient, he said.

"This is a software program that will allow a contractor to check on the status of their permits over the Internet," he said. "The results of inspections will be uploaded to the system before they leave the job."

That will mean less time and money for contractors and the city, Cianfarra said. Instead of driving across town to confirm the results of a day's inspection, contractors and inspectors will be able to access the information they need on the computer.

"We want to be able to give real time results," he said. "If the inspection passes or fails, we want to be able to tell the contractor as soon as possible."

Currently, Goldsboro inspectors issue an average of 9,000 permits per year. Cianfarra said he hopes the technology fee will eventually pay for the new equipment, leaving the city's budget untouched.

"Our services are paid for by the fees we charge," he said. "Instead of putting the burden on the average citizen of Goldsboro, only the people who use this department will pay for this."

Cianfarra added the technology upgrade will not only save time and money, but will also allow his department to take on a larger workload.

"You can probably increase our workload by 8 to 12 percent," he said. "Rather than add staff, technology is much cheaper and much more efficient."