The Town of Whitby is a progressive community with a population of 116,000. In the past ten years it has become the choice of family and businesses in the Durham Region. The residential boom in the town has grown by 40%.
The boom in development activity posed a threat to tracking securities on large infrastructures. The subdivision process is the most complicated planning administrative process which includes every department in the Town. Whitby requires developers to post Letters of Credit to meet their obligations on each project. The Treasury division tracks Letters of Credit on behalf of all other departments; if the Town doesn’t obtain guarantees from the developer, or if the infrastructure is unsatisfactory, the Town pays for the completion of its general municipal reserve.
In 2004 Whitby adopted AMANDA for their corporate planning and public services. As part of the AMANDA Implementation Whitby staff documented and mapped the entire land development process from obtaining raw land to occupancy, assuring compliance with all the Town’s conditions. If a developer doesn’t fulfill obligations, the same AMANDA process can be used to withdraw letter of credit funds for completing the work. Due to AMANDA, only certain individuals are authorized to request a credit change.
Using AMANDA and the Letter of Credit Module, Whitby staff designed and built an integrated and auditable mechanism to draft, review, approve and enforce agreement conditions. AMANDA addresses all the needs of stakeholders. It tracks the Letters of Credit from their creation through to inspection and final release.
Whenever a new application enters the Planning Department for review, it is stored in AMANDA. The department then assesses the cost to build the subdivision with streetlights, curbs, sidewalks, storm sewers and landscaping. Upgrades such as parks are tracked by the system.
Before installing AMANDA, the Planning department sent memos to the Treasury advising what Letters of Credit and securities amounts were required under the subdivision agreement. The Treasury would produce reports six times a year listing the latest status for each Letter of Credit. They manually distributed them to the appropriate departments. In some instances, proper security wasn’t maintained. Alternately the time-lag meant permits were held up until Treasury confirmed that Letters of Credit were in place, resulting in construction delays. AMANDA automated the whole process of tracking the credits allotted to parties. Now, the staff reviews the current status independently.
Once the Public Works Department and Planning are satisfied, the staff makes a request in AMANDA and Treasury is notified to have the bank release or reduce the securities.
If the developer doesn’t fulfill obligations, the same AMANDA process can be used to withdraw Letter of Credit funds for completing the work. With AMANDA, only certain individuals are authorized to request a credit change.
The Public Works department used to rely on hard copy correspondence files and the Treasury’s bi-monthly reports to verify that funds had been reduced or released. Now this is done with a simple search in AMANDA. Moving from three paper-based processes to one automated system has saved staff time and increased speed and accuracy.
The Development Process Review has streamlined departmental interaction. The key departments now perform about 80% of their processes and produce 81% of their documents using AMANDA. The success of AMANDA with the Town of Whitby has attracted new users for AMANDA. The Town is now planning on reviewing all processes for site plans. They will be developing the Public Works Engineering Review processes in 2007.