Nevada County has been awarded a California State Association of Counties (CSAC) 2019 Challenge Awards for outstanding county programs. CSAC's annual statewide program honors innovation and best practices in government. With a record number of 284 entries, the second most in the program's history, Nevada County won the Merit Award for the Building Department Outpost. The Building Department also won a CSAC Challenge Award in 2017 for their Over-the-Counter Plan Review Program.
"CSAC is proud to spotlight county innovation and resiliency through these awards," said CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus. "As our counties continue to face new challenges, they are constantly developing solutions to best meet the needs of their communities. The programs receiving these annual awards exemplify the outstanding work that can be found throughout California's 58 counties. Nevada County continues to be a local government leader in developing new, innovative ways to enhance the delivery of services to its residents.”
The Building Department Outpost was created by the Nevada County Community Development Agency (CDA) to better collaborate with the community and private business, and to transform how Building Department services are provided. Services that were strictly government-centric are now transformed into a one-stop-shop of County services, partnered with other private development services, by implementing a satellite Building Department Outpost at the Nevada County Contractors' Association (NCCA) office building.
"There are so many opportunities for local government and the community to work together to make where we live a better place," said Building Director Craig Griesbach. "This is a perfect example of this. Local government, local business, and the community collaborated to provide better and streamlined land use services."
The Outpost improves customer experience in a welcoming environment and the response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive due to the fast and friendly service. At the Outpost, customer wait times have been reduced to less than 10 minutes.
“The Kiosk has been a great collaboration between the Contractors’ Association and the County,” said NCCA’s Executive Director Barbara Bashall. “We can help you navigate the permitting process, refine your design, and even choose a contractor. Now that we have the Outpost here too, you can confer with an experienced building department employee in a convenient, relaxed environment, and in one trip.”
The Outpost combines all the pieces the homeowner needs: the local County Building Department, NCCA and local development professionals all in one place. With the addition of the Outpost, the Building Department has started to see additional customers that were not interacting with the Building Department with previously. The improved service and one-stop-shop model of the Outpost has brought customers into the fold to make sure their properties are in compliance with local and state regulations. Since the Outpost brings Building staff and services to a new community location, the Building Department has increased the collaboration between the County, the NCCA, contractors and homeowners.
In addition to the Building Department Outpost, Nevada County has received approximately 13 CSAC Challenge Awards since the program began for innovative Nevada County programs such as Children's Mental Health, Social Security Benefits Advocacy, the Library Community Technology Center, the Vax-to-Go! Program, What's Up? Wellness Checkups, the CalWORKS Connection Program, AskNevadaCounty App and Web Tool and Budget Analysis Interim Program.