Evolution on Track: Florida City Streamlines Administration through Next-Level Technology
A burgeoning city nestled in the Miami suburbs, Tamarac, Florida, continues to evolve from its roots as a bedroom community into a thriving urban destination. As of 2016, Tamarac’s population had soared to more than 65,000 residents. Not only is the city growing, but it also is showing its new age – the average Tamarac citizen is 10.5 years younger today than he/she would have been in 1990, according to U.S. census data.
To further extend its revived, next-generation brand image, Tamarac also transitioned its administrative structure to a business-like model – one that brought a private sector mentality to public sector operations.
“We’re certainly a government agency, but we view ourselves as a business who provides a service and our residents are our customers,” said Elise Boston, public information officer with the City of Tamarac. “It’s a different way of looking at things, but also what we feel distinguishes us as a progressive city. We strive to stay one step ahead, and keep innovation at the heart of our short- and long-term planning.”
While Tamarac embraced modernity in its approach and desired image, its core management technologies had yet to transform. The city needed enhanced systems to match its growth, and streamline the various tasks necessary to remain functional while providing basic livability needs to its residents.
Tamarac had its clear vision for the future, but needed the right solutions to bring it to life.
Interaction without Boundaries
Tamarac’s transformation into a haven for young professionals and on-the-verge businesses placed greater strain on its officials. The rising population brought about more requests for essential services, ranging from utility setup to corporate permitting. In turn, Tamarac’s officials felt the burdens of finding ways to remove the visibility and collaboration gaps that hindered team efficiency.
Notably, Tamarac realized the need to integrate and automate their systems to keep up with the citizen demands. Complementary teams, such as billing and collections and permitting and code enforcement, had to manually exchange and review documents and notify each other of relevant updates. These limitations often forced Tamarac to operate reactively, when it preferred to focus on more strategic, long-term planning.
The shift to a more “business-like” workflow also dictated a more transparent, two-way resident experience. To improve loyalty and drive convenience, Tamarac sought to digitize fundamental civic processes, including the rollout of online bill pay portals and fast-but-thorough document and permit review tools.
Tamarac clearly needed a new, versatile operational platform that could realign its internal procedures, empower smoother resident service delivery and scale with its continuous growth. The city turned to a long-time partner who understood its needs and could help further its goals in a budget-friendly manner.
A Better Way to Work
As a leading software and service provider to public administration and government entities, Superion helps emerging and established cities operate more efficiently. For nearly two decades, Superion had supplied Tamarac with its management platforms and expertise. Now, facing a need for more powerful and capable technology, Tamarac once again consulted its partner.
The answer was a customized package that would optimize collaboration among Tamarac’s administrators while implementing new external engagement outlets. Working with Superion, Tamarac officials realized they could centralize its finance, human resources, community development, and public works processes. Beyond empowering improved internal communication and visibility, the city also implemented intuitive online bill payment and document access – services guaranteed to delight Tamarac’s increasingly digitally-savvy residents.
Along the way, Superion also worked closely with the Tamarac team to ensure compatibility with the city’s infrastructure. Superion understood its partner’s resource limitations, and prioritized the development of new tools that would support Tamarac’s needs without disrupting operations or requiring a potentially expensive systems overhaul.
Shaping the City of the Future
With Superion, the city annually processes more than 10,000 building permits while reducing turnaround time from 10 days to three. Tamarac’s public resources team also has billed more than 32,000 customers for utility services through the new digital portal, and cites positive feedback from residents around the system’s convenience and ease of use as return on its investment.
Tamarac’s efforts to become a future-facing civic leader also are garnering attention from national organizations. For two consecutive years (2016 and 2017), the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology have honored Tamarac with their prized “Digital Cities Awards,” which recognize the communities who “best utilize technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement.” Specifically, Tamarac has topped the organizations’ rankings of cities with 75,000 or fewer residents.
“(The awards) have been huge for us in terms of validating the investments we’ve made in our technology over time,” added Cernech. “So much of our economic development relies on the technologies that Superion provides, and we truly feel that it gives us a competitive advantage. Superion has been more of a partner than a vendor for us during the last two decades, and we look forward to working with them to continue to improve our operations moving forward.”
Additionally, Tamarac became the first Florida city to adopt fully electronic permitting and planning review processes, and its team has provided guidance to neighboring administrations seeking similar tech-powered enhancements.
Tamarac: From Reactive to Proactive
Through its partnership with Superion, Tamarac is on its way to becoming the model for the futuristic, mid-sized-but-growing suburban city. Its expanded capabilities and delay-free internal and external engagement have made administration easier, and Tamarac likewise feels achievement in its intangible goal of staying a step ahead of its neighbors.
“We look for evolution in our technology, not revolution,” said Michael Cernech, manager for the City of Tamarac. “We invest every day, every month and every year in new technologies that will better serve our employees and our community. Superion has been the foundation of those efforts, and is a vital partner in our pursuit of excellence.”