As part of the City’s annual budget process, the Development Services Department’s proposed Fiscal Year FY 2018-19 Budget includes the addition of resources to meet performance goals to support Austin’s development growth, an updated cost of service fee schedule, and conversion to an Enterprise Fund.
The proposed budget aligns with the City Council’s strategic priorities, Economic Opportunity & Affordability, Government that Works, Health & Environment, and Safety. It includes a mix of staffing resources, including additional plan reviewers and inspectors, and funding for overtime pay, temporary positions, and contracting for third-party services. The resources are requested in order to improve service delivery for building plan reviews and inspections, and to increase support functions in finance, human resources and safety to meet the department’s growing operational needs. A proposed Residential Homeowner Ombudsperson program includes the addition of two (2) Ombudsperson positions in Residential Plan Review to assist homeowners with general information, explaining application requirements, and providing assistance during the plan review and inspection process.
Additional service enhancements include implementation of new technology solutions for online customers with expanded customer support, and training to encourage the use and adoption of new technologies.
For FY2019, DSD will convert from a General Fund department to a separate Enterprise Fund with a fund balance to mitigate against future economic declines. The change allows for revenues and expenses of DSD to be tracked separately from the General Fund. Approximately 10% of the Department’s budget will continue to be funded by the General Fund for items that cannot be covered through cost of service fees, including telecommunication permitting, fee waivers, and the Urban Forestry program.
The updated cost of service fee schedule, which will become effective on October 1, 2018, sets fees at full cost of service, consolidates fees, and corrects volume discrepancies from the 2017 Fee Study.
Recently, DSD released the Blueprint of Change, which is a report on achievements made through implementation of the 2015 Action Plan. The report covers various aspects of improvement such as Culture of Customer Service, decreasing wait time, increasing the utilization of technology, and improving the overall level of customer service. View The Blueprint of Change. DSD also released the results of the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Poll. A major finding by the firm administering the customer satisfaction poll is that there has been a significant increase in satisfaction with DSD services in 2017 compared to 2016. View the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Poll results.
The public is invited to provide feedback to the City Council on the proposed budget on August 30, 2018 at 4:00 p.m., at Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd Street.
The Development Services Department is responsible for coordinating development plan review, building permit issuance, and site and building inspection services to Build a Better and Safer Austin Together.