What I Would Do with the New Federal Funding

Paul Gorman from ImageSoft
Paul Gorman, ImageSoft

As everyone in and around Government knows, the Federal Government passed a bail out bill and Federal money is getting ready to flood. Unlike the previous funding bills, this one is targeting local governments with direct Federal funding. Since it will not flow down from the States, the flood is much more imminent and looks to be the deepest flood of federal funds at the local level – perhaps ever.
 

Now is the time to wipe the huge grins off your faces and get serious about how to use the funds. Smart local government leadership will be looking for as much lasting benefit as they can get from the funding. The biggest hurdle is the best use of the funds, which might not be readily apparent. 
 

Capital spending takes time to set up, permit and prepare. The natural cycle of capital budget planning is going to have several projects in some stage of completion/readiness.  This is the obvious place to start but, based upon what we have been told, most local government capital planning will not have anywhere near the number of planned projects ready to fund.
 

At this point, the local government has two choices: 

  1. Use the funding for other non-capital purposes that are permitted by the funding; or
  2. Find a capital project that does not require years of planning to initiate.
     

It is tempting to try the first approach and fund only the permitted uses, thereby freeing up your existing budget originally going to those uses. It is not a bad strategy – almost every time the Federal Government does one of these emergency funding measures, this is how it is handled by the recipients. My only objection to this strategy is the loss of opportunity to do something fabulous for the citizens of that community. I know that a new park or upgraded infrastructure downtown (i.e., new parking, downtown store front restoration, other wonderful projects, etc.) would be great choices, but not if they have not even entered the planning phase – the three P’s get in the way of using this funding for that.

The P’s are: planning, permitting and procurement. They all take time – lots of time.
 

There is a type of capital project that does not require as much planning, requires no permitting and can be done with minimal procurements (at most one or two). If the local government has not been able to afford the best software infrastructure in the past and has been imping along on low-end systems because the high-end products were out of reach, guess what just came into reach?
 

If I were running the local government, I would have some amount of that capital windfall aimed at a few key software products and solutions. I would want my constituents to never need to fill out a paper form again, and my staff to never need to key and re-key data. I would want all City processes to be accessed via mobile devices and all city programs to be paperless – making them easy to apply for and easy for the staff to manage and operate. 

What actual solutions would I look too? I would systematically go through every agency of local government replacing processes and systems and make my wish list:
 

Public Works

  1. ESRI GIS Software – I would have my infrastructure layers mapped and as many ESRI seat licenses as I needed
  2. Electronic Permitting Solution – I would get the top paperless permitting solution I could find to run on my ESRI platform
  3. Asset Management Work Order Solution – I would get Cityworks to run on my ESRI platform
  4. OnBase – I would get OnBase to manage content and integrate to my ESRI, Permitting and Cityworks software system.

Programs and Back Office (HR & AP)

  1. OnBase & OnBase Workflows – I would replace as many City processes as I could with electronic forms and electronic workflows accessible from Mobile devices
  2. I would integrate OnBase with every line of business system
  3. TrueSign – I would implement TrueSign Digital Signatures for internal and external signatures

Courts

  1. I would implement TrueFiling to eliminate paper filing at the Courts
  2. I would implement TrueSign for electronic Signatures
  3. ! would use OnBase integrated to the Courts CMS to manage Court Documents
  4. I would implement RDO for Online Dispute Resolution providing low cost

Police

  1. I would implement LEAP for electronic filing
  2. I would implement OnBase, replacing paperwork with electronic forms and automating all workflow processes
  3. I would implement TrueSign to provide electronic signatures
     

Any local government that used the Federal funding in this way would be transformed into the most efficient, effective government ever.  Constituents would enjoy efficient services and staff would be freed from mundane administrative nonsense that chews up so much of their time – allowing them to focus on providing the taxpayers with outstanding service.

Oh, and if the staff pulled this off, I’d give them all a raise.

Wishing you all the best on the opportunities ahead!

Paul


How Will Your Agency Better from Federal Funding?

You’ve got the best problem in the world to have – quite possibly the biggest funding opportunity ever for state and local government!
 

Now what?
 

Capitalize on the opportunity and put your plan of action into place so you’re ready to hit the ground running. If you’d like to toss your ideas around or explore using the investment on digital transformation for your staff and constituents, we’re always happy to lend an ear and an idea or two.

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What Can We Do For You?

ImageSoft has been bringing affordable, adaptable enterprise content management systems to state and local governments for quite some time. Our industry-leading solutions for government offer automated workflows, improved speed and efficiency, reduced costs and proper compliance. 

ImageSoft is ready to help your organization reap the benefits from integrated enterprise content management.