(Hauppauge, NY-April 5, 2012) County Executive Steve Bellone and members of the Suffolk County Legislature unveiled a new online permitting process to modernize county government and address delays that have hindered job creation. The new Submission & Status Terminal (www.suffolkcountyny.gov/sst) will streamline the application process for those seeking approval for Health Department or Department of Public Works permits allowing applicants to track submission date, review date, items needed for approval and current status.
“Today, we introduce an efficient government initiative which allows government to work smarter and for the first time allows residents and businesses online access to the health and public works permit process,” said County Executive Bellone. “In the past, applications were previously done on paper and tracked on index cards; this new online process will improve transparency, serve as an economic stimulator and make Suffolk County a better place to do business.”
The new Submission & Status Terminal was developed over the past 6 weeks by a cross agency team of developers and regulators from the Departments of Health Services, Information Technology, and Public Works. The first phase of the new portal will allow residential applications to be filed online, 24-7 and allow for the tracking of the application from submission through final approval. The first phase will also include the tracking of commercial applications submitted in original form.
Prior to the terminal being developed, County Executive Bellone encouraged reassignment and cross training of staff responsible for the permitting process. This measure alone reduced the backlog of residential applications from 10 to 4 weeks and the commercial application backlog from 6 to 4 weeks. It is anticipated that the backlogs within these areas will continue to be reduced to the point to where the expected time for initial review is 2 to 4 weeks.
In addition to the development of the terminal, the department of Wastewater Management has offered Design Professional courses to explain the permit process, highlight common problems with applications, and provide standards that guide the process. The terminal offers a video tutorial to provide the requirements of a residential permit application and highlights the Top 10 deficiencies in residential permit applications. “By offering these courses and tutorials in conjunction with the new terminal, Suffolk County’s residents and businesses will now be more educated on the permit process and provided the tools to ensure that their permits are accurate and complete,” said County Executive Bellone.
“Time is money,” said Legislator Anker, Chair of the Legislature’s Education and Information Technology Committee. “Suffolk County has initiated one of the best ways to create a more efficient and transparent permit process for Suffolk County residents and businesses. The newly developed Submission & Status Terminal will help our local businesses and economy by providing the tools needed to successfully do business in Suffolk County. I thank County Executive Bellone and the departments for their dedication and hard work in bringing about this efficient government initiative.”
“As the Legislature’s Health Committee Chairman, I have heard from many business owners, developers and residents about the delays, mistakes and difficult permit application and procedures that plagued the Health Department,” stated Suffolk Legislator William Spencer. “It was very important to me to work with County Executive Bellone, his team and my colleagues on the Legislature to bring about the restructuring and streamlining of the permit process being announced today. This new portal is a great step toward making it easier to conduct business or renovate your home in Suffolk County.”
Legislator Tom Cilmi, a long-time advocate for government efficiency measures, said “This begins a new day in Suffolk County. Inefficient bureaucracy and red tape in government too often stand in the way of job creation and economic development. This online system will go a long way towards making our permit processes more efficient and transparent providing key information to applicants in real time, and that’s critical to their success. After all, the best way for government to create jobs, is to stop preventing them.”
“This new online permitting portal is going to transform the application process for businesses seeking Health Department approvals. For too long, the Health Department has been the bane of the business community because of an outdated system that relied on index cards and hand tracking. The new online portal will make the permitting process fast, easy, and transparent, which is exactly what businesses need and our county needs if we are to encourage economic development,” said Leg. Rob Calarco.
“As well all know, in business, time is money and knowledge is key,” said Legislator Kara Hahn “Knowing where your permit is in the process will save time and money for Suffolk businesses.”
"This is a promising new development that will get projects on the fast track, eliminate much of the red tape and make a Health Services applicant's information readily available to the Town,” stated Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko. “I commend the County Executive and Legislature for recognizing the need to streamline the process, create jobs and get people back to work in the construction trades throughout Suffolk County.”
“It’s good news that Suffolk County is finding ways to streamline this important review system without compromising our environment,” said Adrienne Esposito Executive Director Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “The new system does not change the scope or the criteria of environmental review, but rather utilizes technology to allow the process to be more transparent and quicker. That’s smart government. CCE supports increased transparency and increasing efficiency of permitting projects without compromising a comprehensive environmental review. Congratulations to the County Executive and the Planning Staff for making this happen.”
“Predictability, accountability, transparency, and efficiency are not words usually associated with government – and certainly not with the land use review process on Long Island. However, thanks to County Executive Bellone and his team, as of today those words are reality in Suffolk County government,” said David L. Calone, Chairman, Suffolk County Planning Commission. “On behalf of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, I want to congratulate the County Executive for bringing to fruition this long sought after economic development goal. We look forward to working with the County Executive, his team, and other stakeholders to continue to streamline and accelerate the review process at all levels of government.”
The next phase of roll out for the terminal will include the ability to submit online commercial applications for both the Departments of Health Services and Public Works and food establishment permits which fall under the purview of the Bureau of Public Health Protection.