Message from the Director
The Development Services Department (DSD) is undergoing a transformation that will result in an increased performance of services, investment in employees, coordination of services with partner City departments, and use of technology.
DSD has a committed workforce of 324 employees. We care about the Austin community, we care about our environment, and we care about the vibrancy of the City. Our purpose propels our commitment to bring about positive changes to the delivery of services.
In FY 2014-15, DSD received the results of a requested external review, and the results confirmed the department’s notion that service levels were not meeting customer expectations. The review provided in-depth and detailed perspective from employees, customers, and stakeholders as to the causes and impacts of the low levels of services.
Within two months of receiving the final results, DSD put together a two-year Action Plan that is based on the findings of the review, the professional recommendations of the DSD Executive and Management team, and feedback from DSD employees. Budgetary appropriations required for implementation are spread out over fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
The first year implementation of the Action Plan was submitted in the FY 2015-16 Proposed Budget requesting ongoing resources of $3.2 million and one-time resources of $1.6 million. Not all of the funding request was approved by City Council, and the implementation of the Action Plan will be impacted. The budgetary appropriations for the second year implementation of the Action Plan will be submitted for inclusion within the FY 2016-17 Proposed Budget for ongoing resources of $2.2 million.
Within the FY2015-16 Proposed Budget, DSD proposed bringing all department fees up to full cost of service over a two-year period to cover the two-year implementation cost of the Action Plan. The City Council voted to increase fees in one year with no set aside of the excess revenue for the second year of Action Plan implementation cost. The second year of implementation is predicated on the use of the total increased fee revenue, which is now partially being used to support ongoing General Fund operations. Fee revenues will be reviewed for changes in FY2016-17, and Enterprise Fund status will be pursued should operating revenues exceed ongoing operating costs in forecasted fiscal years.
Over the next several months, DSD will be hiring and training the positions approved in the FY2015-16 Budget. These positions will increase performance levels, and coupled with other ongoing actions, will demonstrate visible efforts to implement the Action Plan.
J. Rodney Gonzales