By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
Henry County residents will be able to apply for permits online starting Oct. 1 after Supervisors approved a proposal from Beacon Schneider during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, July 5.
Online permitting will allow residents to view information on Beacon, which is already available in Henry County, automate that information in the permit forms and complete forms online. The process will help the county transition from paper to digital and manage all permits in one place.
A benefit to residents is that filling out permit applications will be available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After a resident begins an application, they will receive an email notifying them that the permit process has begun.
?It?s a good way for counties to clean up their workflows,? said Ryan Smith, with Beacon Schneider.
Although Supervisor Marc Lindeen questioned the necessity of the service, for those who do not wish to fill out permit applications online, Beacon makes it easy for Henry County employees, who can pull up residents? information and automate it in the permit form.
?I know myself. I wouldn?t use it. I?m not comfortable with it,? Lindeen said, adding, ?I know the future is this.?
Smith assured that they accommodate for people who do not wish to fill out applications online through walk up services at the courthouse.
Henry County Auditor Shelly Barber assured that contractors will be excited about the service, which will enable them to fill out permit forms on job sites, in the evenings or on the weekends rather than taking time off to go to the courthouse.
Environmental Specialist with RUSS Bruce Hudson is in favor of the service, Planning and Zoning Administrator Joe Buffington said during the meeting on Hudson?s behalf.
The service will likely be used by Planning and Zoning, RUSS and the Road Department.
The total cost to implement the service is $33,100, with an annual renewal fee of $6,900. Supervisors may approve adding a third-party service for $1,500 so residents can use credit cards to pay online. Barber said that contract will likely be signed before the service launches in October.
In other news, Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee said his office has been stopping many drivers over the past few weeks for ?silly violations? including speeding, seat belts, distracted driving and impaired driving.
?We?ve had a lot of citations and warnings, but it continues to be a problem that cause wrecks every day ? those violations still hurt people and get people killed, so be attentive at the wheel,? McNamee said.
McNamee also wanted to remind residents of a new Iowa law that took effect July 1. Move over or slow down requires drivers to get over into the other lane if they see flashing lights, construction vehicles or stranded motorists on the side of the road. ?Kind of a common-sense law,? McNamee said.