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Islip unveils online building permit system

The Town of Islip has rolled out its new, web-based building permit system, which officials say is designed to streamline and standardize the process while decreasing errors and wait times.

Town officials began in May using the system, Permit Net Version 3, which allows Department of Planning employees to access a database of building permit applications. Since then, officials said, the time it takes to get a permit after filing an application has decreased by 16 days from the 2011 average. The time from application to certificate of occupancy has decreased by 110 days.

“I know something like this isn’t very sexy,” said Councilman Anthony S. Senft, Jr., who oversaw the project. “But we have saved the town hundreds of thousands of dollars while improving your government.”

The computerized system replaces a paper system, that officials acknowledge could sometimes result in longer processing turnaround.

Senft said other towns had paid up to $560,000 to a company that licenses similar software, calling the price “unacceptable,” due to Islip’s $26 million budget deficit.

A part-time town employee, who works as a computer programmer, spent 500 hours creating the project, to the tune of $10,000, officials said. The town also purchased seven laptops, at a cost of about $2,000 each, and seven mobile printers to allow inspectors in the field to access the system mobilely.

Senft said he hopes in the coming months to provide public access to the system, through a client identification number, which would allow applicants to check the status of their applications online.

Clara Datre, president of the Long Island Builders Institute, said the system seemed to answer to long-held concerns that her members have about the inefficiency of the building permit process.

“I’m happy to see that they’re answering our concerns,” said Datre. “It eliminates a lot of the unnecessary paper trail.”

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