Imagine you’re a government official in the City of Parkview and you oversee permitting and licensing fee collection. Some projects require multiple permits like building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical—the cost of each can vary according to the specifications of the project, and they may even be interdependent on one another.
Let’s look at two scenarios, for example:
- Applicant A wants to convert a backyard garage into an in-law suite (accessory dwelling unit) for their aging parents. They want to add a bathroom, small kitchen, and expand the overall square footage.
- Applicant B owns a vacant lot in an urban area with high foot-traffic and is hoping to build a three-story business complex complete with a subterranean parking garage.
Are the permit and license fees going to be the same in the two cases above? Surely not. Finding and calculating the specific fees required for both projects may turn into a frustrating, time-consuming journey, as fee schedules are often detailed in individual, static documents stored in different places.
This is the tedious reality many municipalities face. It’s not that local governments don’t want a better way, but they haven’t found an option that can address the complexity of their existing fee schedules, without interrupting the daily workflow that keeps business growth and regulation on track.
That’s why we designed ViewPoint Cloud’s Customizable Fee Calculator, a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind tool that allows government leaders to completely digitize calculation and payment processes across their entire fee schedule. This is the solution municipalities have been looking for to streamline permit and license fee collection, ensure greater accuracy in revenue reporting, and increase payment transparency for constituents—all within one, comprehensive workflow platform.
Fee Calculations—Customized For You
Now let’s reimagine the City of Parkview example above, where Applicant A is constructing an accessory dwelling unit. This time, however, you’re utilizing ViewPoint Cloud’s Customizable Fee Calculator. As a city official, you would complete a one-time setup process to input all permit and license fees across the entire fee schedule using a series of conditional fields.
During setup, you’d be able to include multiple conditions for each permit and license type and utilize a combination of calculations to account for even the most complicated, detail-oriented fee schedules. Whether your community serves 15,000 or 500,000 constituents, with 500 or 5,000+ unique fee attributes, the Customizable Fee Calculator places virtually no limits on the conditions local governments can digitally map out across applications.
This way, instead of manually tracking fees owed on a per-project basis, when Applicant A submits their application, ViewPoint Cloud will take that information and automatically apply the pre-programed fee structure you’ve built to charge:
- A flat fee of $500 for a new home application
- A charge of 30% of the total cost of construction
- A charge of 2% of the state residential building fee
- A $15 cost per appliance in excess of 10
Online Payment Tool and Transparent Pricing: The Upside for Citizens
Once an application is received by the city, the Fee Calculator shows applicants the total fee payments they owe. They can pay what they owe from their online account using cash, e-check, debit, or credit card. Following each transaction, an auto-generated email is sent to citizens with a receipt.
If a constituent does have a question regarding a fee, they can ask it directly through the comment feature within the platform. A local government employee can then review the question and provide an answer, or make necessary adjustments to the fee directly. This eliminates citizen confusion and cuts down on calls and visits to city hall.
Peace of Mind Through Payment Records and Reporting
There’s nothing worse than chasing a paper trail of receipts to correct a small accounting error. One of the greatest features of the Customizable Fee Calculator is that it provides a clear path for applicants and government users to keep track of payments made through ViewPoint Cloud. Within the platform, government leaders can easily see historical data on total fees paid, payment method, and transaction date and time. Departments can then build custom reports to retrieve this information in a readable format that best suits their team. Coordinated by your implementation team, financial data can also be synced on a nightly basis with cities’ existing financial software to ensure accuracy.
The Customizable Fee Calculator brings numerous benefits to city officials and constituents alike, ensuring a municipality’s permit and license fees are accurate, able to be executed quickly, and more transparent to everyone involved. This reduces the time city officials spend answering project-specific questions, which means staff can better allocate their energy to the various tasks that keep cities running.