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City to add 11 positions for Community Development

Will be funded with building fees; will improve permitting time

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 4, 2021

The Cape Coral City Council on Wednesday approved organizational changes in several city departments, including 11 new positions in the Community Development Department.

The changes involve the creation of a new division to be called Customer Service, which will be funded by building permit fees.

The new division will consist of all current customer service representatives and customer service supervisors working in the Building Division.

In addition, all three permit coordinators in the Building Division, plus one from the Development Services Division will be housed in the division. The goal is to funnel all building permits and site development plan applications into one area so that less time is taken to send building permits through the pipeline.

The plan calls for the addition of 11 new positions. Four would be in the new division — a new position of customer service manager; and administrative assistant; and three customer service reps. The Building Division would house a new position of Floodplain Coordinator; two plans examiners; two building inspectors; and one customer service rep.

Community Development Director Vince Cautero said the city wants to maintain a level of service for builders and the community at large, which has become more difficult as the number of permits have skyrocketed.

They also want people from the different trades to turn around those plans faster

“Our numbers have been slipping, turnaround times have increased as have wait times at the counter. We try to turn plans around for first review within five working days; right now, we’re at 10 days,” Cautero said. “Plan reviews are taking 20 days and we want to turn that around in 10 to 12 days.”

The annualized cost will be around $750,000.

If they get people aboard by April 1, which Cautero said will be difficult, it will cost $450,000 for the rest of FY2021.

Bill Johnson, executive director of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association said the city was very cooperative, especially in what has been one of the busiest times the city has ever had.

Johnson said the city is doing a great job keeping up, but they need more help to get those levels of service.

“We recognized what needs were needed and we worked to get the common goal of adding positions to help with turnaround time,” Johnson said. “We’re five months into the year and we’ve almost pulled 1,600 single-family home permits, which is 200 less than the whole year two years ago. These 11 positions will help us get to that point.”