2012 Finalist: Santa Cruz[BETA]
“The interface proposed has a lot in common with TurboTax, simplifying the interface between small business owners and City Hall. We’re using technology to make government more efficient, transparent and easier to work with for small business owners.”
- Mayor Ryan Coonerty
For citizens, acquiring the right permits from their city government can be confusing — it’s not always clear which department should be contacted or what permits are actually required for a project. The process can frustrate local entrepreneurs, limiting economic development and stifling local job creation.
The city of Santa Cruz partnered with Code for America out of a shared vision that citizens shouldn’t have to choose between economic development and policies that protect the natural resources, vibrancy, and character of their communities. Together, we used technology to streamline the process.
Most small business owners typically apply for permits from multiple agencies. The promise of this project is that it is focused not only on improving efficiency across agencies, but also in helping small businesses gain greater visibility and transparency into the permits, entitlements, time and money required to open a new venture. The hope was that Code for America scale the best practices learned in Santa Cruz to a solution for other California cities in order to increase efficiency, cost-savings, and transparency – while stimulating the local economy.
Santa Cruz was a finalist for the 2012 Code for America Fellowship and some CfA fellows took on the challenge. In less than a year, they worked with the city and local partners to go from concept to delivery — with everything from research and marketing to development and testing.
End of Year Report