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One window service for inner city home builders

There are currently a multitude of administratively onerous procedures a builder must go through to redevelop properties in the inner city neighbourhoods. The interaction between builder and City has become increasingly cumbersome as the number and variety of fees, charges and permits has increased significantly. In the view of this builder, the City isn't aware of how it acts very much as a series of 'silos' where each fee payment or permit submission is made in a different way, usually in person at City Hall, sometimes at different buildings spread out across the City.

 

Here are a few payments that must be made

1. water shutoff security fee

2. demolition permit fee

3. off site levy fee

4. subdivision fee

5. curb or sidewalk restoration security

6. permission to permit fee for sewer connection

 

Some of these fees require a special trip to the bank to purchase a bank draft because the City refuses to accept cheques. This adds even more time and inefficiency to the process. Other fees are payable by cheque or credit card. There are no goods exchanged where a certified payment would be needed, many of the fees are for infrastructure improvement that will not be made for months or years.

 

I propose a 'single window' that is available to builders, or a City staff person assigned to each builder and their current files. This could allow all payment and communication related to the amount and deadlines for these payments to be made, and to allow the builder to make many of these payments from home or office, and track the receipts online.

 

The rationale behind this change is the City needs to better appreciate the time value of the business owners that contribute much of the taxes and fees the City uses to operate. There is a sense among the builders that the City values its own timelines and procedures more than its customers, but the builders operate under much more compressed and difficult timelines than does the City who generally regulates the work or collects fees for future work.

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Submission No. 89