Innovative eServices program receives statewide awards

Published on September 16, 2019
Woman in kitchen with baked goods on smart phone

The Placer County Community Development Resource Agency’s new eServices program is gaining attention for technological innovation and citizen engagement.

The program, launched in June, won two prominent statewide awards in recent months.

eServices offers customers 24/7 online access to services that previously required a visit to CDRA offices in Auburn or Tahoe City.

The program earlier this month received the Merit Award from the California State Association of Counties.

CSAC’s annual statewide program honors innovation and best practices in county government. This year, CSAC received 284 entries – the second most in the program’s history.

In August, eServices also won the Most Innovative Use of Citizen Engagement award from the Center for Digital Government. The Center for Digital Government recognizes the premier leaders in government technology with the “Best of California” awards. 

The recent honors come on the heels of the Placer County in August placing third nationally in the 17th Annual Digital Counties Survey Awards, which identifies the best technological practices among U.S. counties.

Placer was recognized in the medium-sized population category for the customer-friendly approach of its revamped county website, which allows customers to navigate through the site based on types of services rather than guessing at which department is responsible for different types of services.

“We are working hard to make it easier for our customers to access our services,” said Community Development Resource Agency Director Steve Pedretti. “The innovations that we have implemented in eServices allow our citizens 24/7 access to CDRA’s services. With our Ask Placer feature, we have created a function that perhaps or no other local jurisdiction in the nation has. The award recognition is great, but the real reward comes when our customers express their satisfaction.”

With eServices, customers with commercial and residential projects can look up zoning requirements, apply for permits and more from the comfort of their home, business or mobile workplace anywhere, anytime, online at the eServices webpage, here.

The on-demand services include the Ask Placer feature, which uses artificial intelligence to give customers access to CDRA information through smartphones and smart speakers such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, or through the county’s website. Customers can ask questions such as “What’s the zoning at my property?”, “Do I need a building permit?” or “How deep do I need to bury a water line?” using Google Assist or Alexa and get responses.