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Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Judy Steele, Deputy Director of Excise and License for the City and County of Denver

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Judy Steele, Deputy Director of Excise and License for the City and County of Denver

Judy Steele is Deputy Director of Excise and License at the City and County of Denver, Colorado. She has been joining us at Engage for the last several years, and most recently introduced Denver’s Marijuana Licensing program at Engage 2015.

What are you most looking forward to at Engage 2016?
I enjoy the networking opportunity and I look forward to learning what has changed for jurisdictions and the new things they are doing. I always take away great ideas and strategies that others have implemented, and network for additional support throughout the next year.

What do you hope to learn at Engage 2016?
I am particularly looking for information concerning hosted agencies and using the cloud. We are moving in that direction in the future.

What are you presenting on this year at Engage?
“Marijuana Licensing Using the Accela Civic Platform” and “Short-Term Rental (STR) Licensing in Denver.”

What interested you about presenting at Engage?
Sharing information about Denver’s approach to licensing with other jurisdictions that are facing medicinal and/or recreational marijuana legalization, and our new short-term rental ordinance (Denver’s first-ever mandated online filing).

What do you hope attendees get out of your session?
I hope attendees come away with information that is helpful for developing a new licensing structure or enhancing current processes. From marijuana legalization to short-term rental licensing, Denver is tackling big challenges.

How does your presentation reflect this year's tagline of “Where Civic Tech Connects?”
Denver is moving toward online filing for individual and business licensing, as well as short-term rental licensing 24/7. It’s the perfect combination: taking advantage of leading civic tech to connect with constituents in ways they’re already used to. I also look forward to sharing with and learning from others about these very topical and political challenges.

b2ap3_thumbnail_denver-short-term-rentals.jpg

Short-Term Rentals on the City and County of Denver's website

What are your top challenges right now?
Determining what information from our historical records should be accessible to individuals who access our Accela citizen portal as guests. Do we redact those legacy images or choose not to make them available? Would that set us up for missed opportunities? If we take the plunge, how much will a redaction solution cost? Do we double our storage capacity and maintain two image databases: one for redacted images available to the public and one for non-redacted images? What if we miss something in a redaction effort? What is the liability? How will a customer get the information in public images redacted?

What initiatives are you focused on in the next year?
We have two different pending ballot initiatives for pot clubs and social consumption of marijuana, including special event licenses. There have also been some recent changes to our marijuana laws that allow for transporter licenses.

We will be working through our first year of short-term rental licensing and enforcement. We are partnering with Accela and Airbnb regarding a standalone, purpose-built STR portal that could be reused for other platforms.

How is technology changing the way Denver does business and engages citizens?
Technology is always growing and changing with our organization. It allows us to open data up to our citizens, provide new ways of interacting with our great City and County and give employees across agencies more information about the status of an application or license at their fingertips.

For more information about Accela Engage, visit the conference website.

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