NAPA -- In an effort to streamline its permitting process while reducing costs, Napa County is proposing to consolidate divisions currently within the Department of Environmental Management into the Department of Conservation, Development and Planning, while all general service functions would be operated out of the Public Works Department, creating a "one-stop shop" for permits.
The proposal by County Executive Officer Nancy Watt would cut down on delays often endured by those seeking approval for various projects and instead create a "more intuitive processes," according to Ms. Watt.
The plan must be approved by the Napa County Board of Supervisors, who took the matter into consideration last week but took no immediate action. A final vote could occur in May after Ms. Watt returns to the board with a complete assessment of the plan, including introducing changes to the community and helping residents navigate the new structure.
"This is a move driven by efficiency and customer service considerations," Ms. Watt said in announcing the proposal. "Under current structure, people potentially must walk through three 'front doors' to apply for and maintain certain permits. The proposed new structure, with permitting functions in one place and the general services functions within the Public Works department, more closely aligns with county government best practices."
The proposal also calls for the consolidated departments to be overseen on an interim basis by Steve Lederer, who currently heads the Environmental Management department until the reorganization is completed later this spring, at which point he could permanently be named to the position. Hillary Gitelman, head of the Conservation, Development and Planning department, would maintain her position under the reorganization.
Ms. Watts said she does not anticipate any stuff cuts as a result of the reconfiguring, and that the emphasis will be on realigning services.
"These changes are an example of good government," she said. "We want to make it easier for our residents to work with us, with less bureaucracy and more intuitive processes."