The $1.1 million proposed budget — compared to last year’s budget of more than $600,000 —“doesn’t really do justice to what’s included” in the new plans for the county, Luz Borrero, deputy chief operating officer of development, told county commissioners last week.
Borrero has recommended the county develop a strategic plan for economic development, streamline the permitting process and implement new technology systems, among other priorities.
“We would want to have a strategic plan that encompasses all of the districts of DeKalb County to guide our future economic development activity,” she said.
The county currently does not operate with such a plan. She proposed contracting those duties out to a firm to the tune of $210,000, a cost on the low end of the spectrum, she said. Borrero said the first step to improve the county’s system of handling permitting and licensing will be analyzing how the county currently manages the process.
“We need to do a business process analysis to understand what opportunities are there to consolidate the operations [and] to streamline the way in which we issue each one of the different permits we issue,” she explained.
She said public consensus is that the county’s permit issuance process is dysfunctional and fragmented. She has budgeted $300,000 to contract out that task. Borrero also recommended a complete overhaul of the outdated technology systems involved in the permitting and licensing process. The total cost for the new technology is estimated between $2.5 million to $2.8 million, but she proposed spending $600,000 in year one of the three-year project.
Borrero said the county issues about 4,000 to 5,000 permits per year.