LIVE DEMOS

Financial, Cashiering, Fee and Payment Processing Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the cashiering and financial features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.9     Finance

1.9.1. Describe the solution’s capabilities to create, manage, secure, and report (ad-hoc and scheduled) on financial transactions.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve enables the implementation of complex fee calculations, and the maintenance of fee schedules is included in the subscription. Fee schedules can be end dated. To enable payments, we integrate with a customer’s payment provider(s); we do not store credit card information. All data in the database is encrypted, and web services using HTTPS or TLS encryption with authentication are used for communicating with external systems like payment processors.

Payment information, accounts receivable information, and other financial information can be sent to the City’s financial system via a web services integration, or through the creation and upload of a daily batch file.

Citizenserve has a standard suite of financial reports. We will develop any custom report to meet the City’s requirements as part of Citizenserve’s unlimited support.

1.9.3. Describe how payments are processed and posted.

Citizenserve Response: We integrate with the City’s payment processor(s) and do not store credit card information. Successful payments are recorded in Citizenserve, and associated balance due fields are updated. Unsuccessful transactions are also logged for follow-up.

1.9.4. Describe the refund process.

Citizenserve Response: User roles can be set up to take and modify payments. For refunds, payments are reversed in Citizenserve; this data is then passed to the City’s financial system via an integration or report, and the City’s financial system would process the refund.

1.9.5. Describe any financial controls the system provides.

Citizenserve Response: There are various configuration options to implement business rules in Citizenserve.  Conditions are often used to enforce business rules; for example, payment must be made before a permit is issued.

https://www.citizenserve.com/business-licensing-software/citizenserve-online-cashiering-services/

1.9.6. Describe the period/year end closing processes and financial reporting capabilities. Provide a diagram where applicable to illustrate the end-to-end process.

Citizenserve Response: Period and year end closing processes will be handled in the City’s financial system. Citizenserve will integrate with the City’s financial system via web services to pass AR, payment, and refund information. We we can create any kind of custom reconciliation report for the GL and/or Refunds.

1.9.9. Describe the solution’s integration possibilities with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Citizenserve Response: We can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 using custom web services or any available APIs. Citizenserve’s technical architects will be responsible for developing the code to send data from Citizenserve or accept data into Citizenserve; if an API is not available, the City’s resources will be responsible for developing the code to send data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 or accept data into Microsoft Dynamics 365.

1.10   Impact Fees

1.10.1. Describe the capabilities to manage and track impact fees, credits, and payments.

Citizenserve Response: We have great flexibility in configuring impact fees to meet the business rules of our customers; there is no “one size fits all” approach. Examples of impact fee calculations include basing the impact fee on meter size, tying the calculation to entries made from checkboxes and/or drop-down lists, other automatic calculations, or manual entries by staff. Staff can add credits to a customer’s impact fee, or credits can be calculated based on overpayments (if overpayments are allowed); credits can be carried on the permit and applied to the next payment.

1.10.2. Describe the capabilities for spatial integrated functionality for tracking impact fee information in specific geographic area.

Citizenserve Response: An unlimited number of custom fields can be created for properties and permits.  The fee table for each permit type can easily incorporate the custom fields into fee definitions with no programming.  Impact fees can be based on anything on the permit application or any property information.  Typically, property information will contain the necessary information about the location or GIS integration will provide the relevant information necessary for impact fee calculation.

Citizenserve e-Government Software Development Services – Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the Development Services features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.3.1. Provide a simple diagram or outline of the permitting system process. The diagram should depict the end-to-end range of a permit lifecycle from the pre-application process, permit fees, plan review, building permit fees, issuing permits, inspections, through the final approval and certificate of occupancy.

Citizenserve Response: Permits, licenses, case types, and file types in Citizenserve can be configured in a variety of ways.  This flexibility is necessary, as Citizenserve is used by hundreds of jurisdictions for various types of permitting, licensing, inspections and enforcement.  The following short demonstration provides an overview of an example permit process:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permitting-overview/

1.3.2. Describe your solution’s capability to accept and review plans, issue development related permits, and track inspections.

Citizenserve Response: Citizens, contractors, and businesses can work electronically with the City through the online portal.  Uploading plan documents, reviewing markups and comments, requesting inspections, reviewing inspection results, etc. can all be accomplished electronically.  Citizenserve has a built-in browser and device independent markup and comment tool.  Below are some short video demonstrations related to submitting plans and plan review:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permitting-overview/

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permit-inspections/

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/online-permit-applications/

1.3.3. Describe the functionality for reminder and or expirations for development processes. Describe the ability to set alerts based on business rules to ensure deadlines for time in possession and business commitments are maintained.

Citizenserve Response: The workflow review routes can all be set up with timeframes and overdue activities are displayed on a user’s home page.  Workflow routes are supported for all development, permit and license application types.  Metrics can also be set up to track and identify overdue timeframes.  Here’s a short video demonstration on workflow routes:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/workflow-routing/

1.3.4. Describe your solution’s processing for duplicating a repetitive process and “cloning” permits.

Citizenserve Response: Permits in Citizenserve are configured with custom fields that make up the application form.  The information in the custom forms varies so we usually set up a custom process to copy a permit type into a new permit application.  In our support framework this is usually called a “report”, but it is really an interactive feature that does some processing.  The creation of unlimited reports like this is included in the subscription.  These are usually most helpful in a master plan community where developers may use a master permit type to create new permit applications for similar projects.

1.3.5. Describe your solution’s capability to link all projects on a specific parcel, address, and/or a large development in order to track dependencies and history.

Citizenserve Response: All development, permit, license, case, and file types can be linked to a property or set of properties.  When reviewing a property any file types are displayed, so everything about a location is in the property view.  When looking at a project, all permits on that project are available; for example, when looking at a contractor, all of the contractor’s projects are displayed.

1.3.6. Describe your solution’s capability to manage and monitor Historic Preservation processes including demolition permits.

Citizenserve Response: Historic Preservation processes and demolition permits are just different permit application types owned by their respective departments with their own interdepartmental workflows.  Citizenserve is a flexible solution for special permit types and processes.

 1.3.7. Describe any limitations to the number of different plan reviews or permits that your solution can handle.

Citizenserve Response: An unlimited number of permit types can be configured in the system with an unlimited number of custom fields per application.  An unlimited number of plan review workflow routes can be set up for each permit type with an unlimited number of activity types and workflow steps.

1.3.8. Does your solution differentiate between a plan review and a permit?

Citizenserve Response: Yes, file types can be configured as Development Projects or Permit/Building Projects.  These can be configured at the Organization, Department, and Sub-department level; so Public Works for example can have their own Development Projects that are separate from the Building Departments’ Development Project Types.

1.3.9. Describe the solution’s capabilities to reference ordinances and building codes, and other regulations, i.e., state statutes. Provide a description of how this information is loaded and updated.

Citizenserve Response: Setting up codes and ordinances is included in the initial setup and implementation.  Updating codes and ordinances is included in the unlimited support.  The administrative features in the software are easy to use, so departments can also update their respective codes and ordinances without submitting a support request, if desired.

1.3.10. Describe the solution’s ability to integrate with the Washington State Labor and Industries system for the purposes of validating Contractor licenses.

Citizenserve Response: Since Redmond already uses Citizenserve for business licensing we may already have established this integration.  Generally, a http link built into the system as a custom field is an easy way to make a lookup into another system that is available through the internet or a http request.

1.3.11. Describe the solution’s ability to integrate with Business License management applications, such as Citizenserve.

Citizenserve Response: The City is using Citizenserve for business licensing so it there is no need to integrate with Citizenserve.

1.4     Resource Management

1.4.1. Describe the solution’s ability to optimize and plan inspections routes. Elaborate on the capability to manage assignments based on geographic location leveraging GPS/AVL technology, skills certifications, workload, and priority.

Citizenserve Response: Inspection scheduling processes in Citizenserve are highly customizable.  The Citizenserve subscription includes unlimited support, which includes the creation of interactive custom reports that can perform processing.  Some of our customers have complex rules for optimizing activities like inspections and the interactive custom reports with processing provide ultimate flexibility in implementing and refining process improvements.  The following video demonstration provides an overview of the general inspection features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/permit-inspections/

Online Zoning Software Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the Zoning features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.6     Zoning

1.6.1. Describe the solution’s capabilities to process citizen’s applications, track zoning, and land use processes.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve planning and zoning software completely automates the process of application, review, routing, resubmittals, and public notification. Applicants can submit applications, attach plan documents, pay application fees, and view the status of their applications through the online portal. Applications are automatically routed to the appropriate reviewers based on your workflow routes. Plan reviewers have access to searchable electronic reference materials including building code handbooks, GIS layers, and property history.

You can track due dates for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates you select. You can easily build your plan review reports by selecting comments from custom libraries of review comments. We will build the custom libraries of comments during implementation to include comments associated with the City’s building, fire, and other codes, and will maintain the libraries as part of our unlimited support. You can electronically comment on plans with the Electronic Plan Review tool by adding notes, highlights, and other annotations. Through a flexible and user-friendly interface, Citizenserve helps keep your projects organized and on schedule.

1.6.2. Describe the solution’s capabilities to generate hearing and public notices.

Citizenserve Response: We create a wide variety of hearing and public notices; all templates are developed custom for the customer, and can include any fields from Citizenserve. You can track due dates for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates you select

1.6.3. Describe the solution’s capabilities to schedule meetings and hearings. Describe how the proposed solution integrates with Outlook to share this information with internal staff and external customers, including the ability to check resource calendars for availability.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve has built-in calendaring that is browser and device independent.  Activities in Citizenserve can be sent to the user’s work calendar in Outlook or Google via the built-in calendar integration feature.  Two-way custom integration is also possible using Exchange Web Services.

1.6.4. Describe the solution’s capabilities to store and report on case information, hearing results and pending case information.

Citizenserve Response: A complete case history and status can be maintained in Citizenserve, including hearing results and any pending case information. We will identify required reporting during implementation, and will build custom reports to meet the City’s requirements. The City can decide which information to share on the public portal so that relevant parties have access to current case and status information.

1.6.5. Describe how the land use management capabilities of the zoning application flow into the plan review process in terms of addressing any related parcels?

Citizenserve Response: Plan reviewers have access to searchable electronic reference materials including GIS layers and property history. You can easily build your plan review reports by selecting comments from custom libraries of review comments. We will build the custom libraries of comments during implementation to include comments associated with the City’s building, fire, and other codes, and will maintain the libraries as part of our unlimited support. You can electronically comment on plans with the Electronic Plan Review tool by adding notes, highlights, and other annotations.

1.6.6. Describe the solution’s capabilities to attach PDF or Word documents to zoning applications. Can multiple files be attached to the applications? Can links be provided to an external document management system?

Citizenserve Response: Both PDF and Word documents can be attached to zoning applications; multiple files can be attached to an application. Links can be provided to an external document management system if this integration has been included in the implementation.

Electronic Plan Review Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about Electronic Plan Review features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.5     Electronic Plan Review

1.5.1. Describe your solution’s EPR capabilities. Please include how payments are made, the ability to automatically screen and route plans to the appropriate examiner, version management, archiving, and document recovery.

Citizenserve Response: Contractors can submit documents on the online portal.  Fees can be charged in various ways for plan review activities.  Payments can be made online and invoice and accounts receivable processes can be set up.  Plans are routed via the workflow routing features in Citizenserve.  Unlimited storage is provided as part of the subscription.  Bluebeam integration is available.  We typically recommend a project-based approach to deciding which tools to use.  If the architects and engineers are using Bluebeam on a project, then go with Bluebeam on that project; if it is a small project and an owner/builder, then maybe the built-in tool is best.

1.5.2. Describe the solution’s Plan Review capabilities, including the plan scheduling and routing process.

Citizenserve Response: You can create customized workflows that mimic your plan review process and digitally track plan review status and comments. Each application type can have a specific review route or workflow route, and each workflow route can contain different activity types and assignments. An unlimited number of activity types can be created in Citizenserve. Each activity can have a specific form or custom fields and template outputs. A review activity can be completed and a template email sent to the contractor or other people involved in the project. Alerts can be set on parcels, applicants, and permits.

Citizenserve has robust and flexible Electronic Plan Review tools to enable professional, engineering-level reviews. Our review tools include tools to measure areas and linear distances and accurately scale drawings. The Electronic Plan Review tool supports electronic plan comments by adding notes, standard comments, highlights, measurements, and other annotations.

1.5.3. Describe the capability to track and log the location of one or multiple sets of archived hardcopy plans associated with a permit or project.

Citizenserve Response: We can create a custom field to track this information; all custom fields are available for search and reporting.

1.5.4. Describe the solution’s markup-up tool’s capabilities in detail.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve has robust and flexible document markup tools to enable professional, engineering-level reviews. The markup tool is fully integrated with your workflows and Citizenserve’s document management. Our review capabilities include tools to measure areas and linear distances and accurately scale drawings. The document markup tool supports electronic plan comments by adding notes, standard or custom comments, highlights, measurements, stamps, and other annotations.

Display the comments and annotations of all reviewers, or display individually by reviewer. You can also choose to show specific comments and marked-up plans to applicants in the online portal at any point in the review process, enabling applicants to start addressing issues immediately.

The markup tools also aid in code enforcement and inspection by enabling the mark up of photos to highlight trouble areas and add related comments and annotations.

Citizenserve Response: Below are links to video demonstrations of the markup tool:

https://www.citizenserve.com/building-permit-software/eplans-review-software-comments-and-markup-tool/

https://www.citizenserve.com/building-permit-software/citizenserve-document-markup-tool/

1.5.5. Describe the capability to track and review comments.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve’s markup tool enables comments to be entered and displayed by different users. A user can choose to only display his or her individual comments, or can select specific users, whose comments will then display.

Each department can setup their own review and inspection comments with different categories and features.  Comments can be inherited from higher level departments or the organization also.

1.5.6. Does the tool easily identify before and after corrections?

Citizenserve Response: The browser and device independent JavaScript tool set we use for the markup tool supports a side-by-side and overlay comparison.  This feature is being added to Citizenserve this year.  Bluebeam integration is also available and Bluebeam has side-by-side and overlay comparison features.

1.5.7. Does the solution store building code catalogs and easily incorporate them into plan markups or associated notes?

Citizenserve Response: Yes, and maintaining the building code catalogs is included in Citizenserve’s unlimited support. Common comments and corrections are available with the review activities and available directly in the markup tool.

1.5.8. Describe the solution’s copy and paste functions.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a browser-based application and supports all browser features such as copy and paste.  There are also handy features built in, such as the ability to copy comments from an inspection into a re-inspection for a checklist for that activity.

1.5.9. Provide a simple workflow diagram for the solution’s EPR process. The diagram should depict the end-to-end range of the EPR lifecycle from the plan application process, the uploading of drawings, pre-log process, fee payment, the plan review, building permit fees, the stamping and release of plans through the final plan download.

Citizenserve Response: The following is a detailed video demonstration of a planning and zoning implementation in Citizenserve.

https://www.citizenserve.com/permitting-software/online-planning-and-zoning-software/

1.5.10. Describe the EPR solution’s interdependencies and interaction with the greater application plan review process.

Citizenserve Response: EPR is built-in and integrated with Citizenserve, it is not a disjointed add-on feature.

1.5.11. Does the tool EPR solution support communications between the customers and the plan reviewer? Describe the process of alerting customers of plan status including red lines and unfinished permit applications.

Citizenserve Response: Yes, a plan review report can be sent out to the customer and the report and associated markups and comments can be viewed on the online portal in a list form and also on the plan documents.

1.5.12. Describe the solution’s capabilities for alerting plan reviewers, project managers, and other stakeholder’s status information. Describe the standard status reports or dashboard capabilities.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve’s flexible workflows can be configured to send automatic notifications when tasks are completed, due dates are approaching or have passed, etc. Inspectors are notified of inspections due and pending applications with required inspections. Notifications can be assigned for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates selected. Notifications can be in the form automated letters, emails, or both. Below is an example of a User Notifications and Assignments screen for the Permitting module.

Sample Citizenserve User Notifications and Assignments Configuration Screen (Permitting)

There are a variety of standard status reports, and Citizenserve’s unlimited support includes the development of an unlimited number of custom reports. Citizenserve provides multiple dashboards to enable your users to quickly obtain the information they need, and can configure other dashboards as part of our unlimited support. The user dashboards are flexible and configurable, and can be configured to meet the specific needs of individual users filling different roles. For example, an inspector may choose to configure a dashboard with a calendar showing inspections due, sorted by due date and priority, while a supervisor may choose to include information on past-due inspections and total inspections completed for the department on his or her individual dashboard.

Below is an example of a dashboard for an inspector, as viewed from his iPad:

1.5.13. Describe any file name or character limitations.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve uses contemporary internet technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript with an architectural and design goal of remaining browser and device independent.  Any file name or character limitations that exist in contemporary internet technologies will also apply to Citizenserve.  To date we have not experienced any issues from customers regarding these limitations.

1.5.14. Describe any unique feature functionality that sets your solution apart for the uploading of documents.

Citizenserve Response: Unlimited storage and submittal requirements can be defined in the application form and put in the relevant application sections.  Each submittal button or requirement can specify what document types are acceptable (PDF, JPG, etc.).  Submittal requirements can allow only one document or allow the uploading of multiple documents.  The document markup tool is available directly from the application forms with the submittals.  The document markup tool is built-in, device and browser independent, and available to all users.