Baltimore county officials outline priority tech projects

In an announcement last week, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz highlighted twenty-three technology initiatives that his administration will implement within the next six to eighteen months. The nearly two dozen projects include citizen-facing solutions, such as a constituent service portal, and internal tools that will help modernize the county’s business processes.

Upon entering office, County Executive Kamenetz worked with the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Budget and Finance to determine technology projects that would “provide innovation, efficiency, cost savings, consolidations, vacancy reductions and better serve public safety – all of which could be realized within a six to eighteen month time frame.”

According to a report compiled by OIT director Rob Stradling, twenty-three projects met these criteria. Spanning county government from the police department, code enforcement, office of information technology, public health and the environment, these projects represent around $5 million worth of IT investments – all of which will be recouped within the next three to five years, officials said.

“We delved into agency workflows and came up with ways to take advantage of technology to streamline our processes, reduce duplication of effort and provide instant access to information among related departments,” County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a press release. “This translates into real savings in dollars and time for our agencies as well as the taxpayers we serve.”

Many of the projects will help improve public safety including an electronic citations system, an online field-based reporting platform, a new central 911 center, a new crime tip system called iWATCH, and a shared enterprise booking project between the county’s police, corrections and sheriff’s to process offenders from the point of intake to release.

OIT will also have a number of projects to implement, including a broadband fiber project that will deliver high-speed internet to county operations including public safety, healthcare, education and job creation. OIT officials say the new fiber optic network will eliminate most of the need to rely on third party providers who charge for these services.

Among some of the broader projects slated for implementation, Baltimore County is going to install a new permits, approvals and inspections solution from Accela that will automate the business processes around building, electrical, plumbing and miscellaneous permits and their associated inspections. The outward-facing platform will be able to have e-permitting capabilities so that home improvement projects can be applied for, tracked, and paid for online. This project will be joined by a related Land Management solution that will tie into the county’s GIS system to coordinate and track the subdivision and development review and approval process.

According to county IT and finance officials, cost savings for these technology investments will have dividends reaching down stream for years to come.

“These technology advances are beneficial from a fiscal perspective and they will clearly make it easier for our residents to interact with their government,” Baltimore County Council Chair John Olszewski, Sr. said.

For a full list of the projects, click here.