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Change is underway in the city of Kerrville’s Development Services department — the office that oversees building permits, code enforcement and inspections.

The improvements are the result of nearly two months of work to determine how and why errors were made and create new systems to prevent them.

But it will take more time to completely correct the operational problems that contributed to the mistakes in the first place. City Manager Mark McDaniel made that clear when he addressed Kerrville City Council members and city staff in a workshop Tuesday to present plans for improvement and respond to questions the city has received about apparent inconsistencies in permitting practices and address accusations of selective code enforcement.

The city’s investigation into these issues revealed several areas for improvement, including processes, outdated software, poorly written codes, staff turnover and vaguely defined staff responsibilities.

Many of the broken process they uncovered were decades old and can’t be corrected overnight. Change takes time and significant investment.

McDaniel estimated roughly $11,000 in labor costs, about 150 work hours, went into the creation of the report, which uncovered the problems in the department and mapped out plans for improvement.

That investment also is reflected in the city’s 2017 creation of a department dedicated to handling analysis and improvement projects.

Helmed by Executive Director of Innovation Guillermo Garcia, McDaniel said the department is modeled after the private sector and its intense drive to improve performance and achieve operational efficiency through effective processes and waste reduction. Garcia’s thorough investigation into what led to the flawed permitting of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce’s electronic sign not only details missteps, but also provides a list of four corrective actions.

While the errors that led to the creation of this report are unfortunate, the resulting process of analysis and improvement is promising.

Some changes already have been made, and city staff expects most others to be complete by September. In less than a year, the city may well have corrected decades-old systemic problems that should have been discovered by prior city leaders.

The good news is the methodology works. But what project will the city tackle next, and what will it take to apply this level of scrutiny?

Let’s not wait for another high-profile error.

We’ve got the tools; let’s use them.

(3) comments

t28fog

The original big interest in sign ordinances was to do away with billboards. That was done pretty effectively. The sign ordinance in conjuction will the billboard ban outlawed off premise signs of any size except for churches. An off premise sign was any sign not on hhe property it was promoting. That disappeared without do much as a whimper with the Booster Clubs sign at the stadium both as to size and what it advertises. Now the Chamber sign is in question. Maybe the question ought to speak to the garishness of all this signage and does it promote the image we desire. Just because the technology exists doesn't mean we should submerge ourselves in it. We now have flags, banners, flashing signs of all colors - every bank leading the way. There isn't much need for a sign ordinance if the big guys get to do whatever they want but maybe it's just for the little guy.

Conservative

" There isn't much need for a sign ordinance if the big guys get to do whatever they want but maybe it's just for the little guy.

t28fog.....you can take this logic and extend same to a variety of issues in Kerr County, including our courthouse, or House of Gus as it is sometimes called.

t28fog

The only flaw in the sign ordinance is it wasn't used for either the stadium or the Chamber sign. Now that the Chamber sign got questioned, we studied the "problem" and the solution will be - it will be approved.

Welcome to the discussion.

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