Springfield seeing an increase for building permits; working on backlog

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. We've told you how developers and business owners have been flocking to Springfield, adding to an already booming economy.

The business owners are ready to set up shop but some plans have been put on hold due to the city's backlog of building permit applications.

"It's seems like the city is overwhelmed. Everything's really, really growing fast around here. Lots of development," said business developer and entrepreneur Michael Felts.

It's why he plans on opening three new businesses in Springfield this year.

He said, "People are spending money and really want to invest. It's a good thing but when you're waiting for permits and stuff it's pretty costly for a business owner."

"It's not your imagination. Things are moving slower than usual," said Cora Scott, Director of Public Information for Springfield.

The city gets about 50 permit applications every day.

"Typical turnaround time for things that normally take us about 24 hours are taking up to five days. We've had a couple of unusual circumstances kind of create the perfect storm that's causing a little more delays than normal," explained Scott.

Factors for the backlog in issuing permits includes being short staffed. Springfield is working to fill six empty spots that would help with the backlog.

The city is also upgrading their software system.

"We're calling it E-City. It's definitely going to speed things up on the front end. At the same time we've got to re-engine our own processes. It's not going to help any if we can get things quicker if we can't facilitate them quicker," explained Scott.

Felts thinks that the city should have back up plan in place.

"They were only accepting the submissions via email. Their email servers were down. This was new for them. Why not go back to the old system until they fix the new system and get it underway instead of making us wait for two months in order for us to submit for permits," he said.

Scott said, "All in all, it's absolutely good signs for our economy and our community. It's just, I would say, a little bit of growing pains."

"I understand there's growing pains but there needs to be better communication," said Felts.

The city explained that the delays in issuing permits could last at least another month.

They've been working to implement the new software for quite some time. They hope the bugs and kinks will be worked out by the end of this year.