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St. Paul is finalist in innovation contest with plan to cut red tape

St. Paul’s plan for online access to the permit-review and license process makes it to the top 20 in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge.

St Paul has made it to the final 20 in a national contest that asks cities to come up with innovative ideas to solve problems and improve life.

There’s a $5 million grand prize in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. There are also four $1 million prizes.

St Paul’s entry:

Saint Paul will “provide unique online access to the permit review and license process for residents, developers, and business owners with the goals of improving customer satisfaction, getting better development outcomes, making government more transparent, and reducing the costs incurred by both the customer and the taxpayer. An online tool that takes applicants through the process, step-by-step, will help them better understand the scope of applicable regulations, community review requirements, and anticipated time frames.”

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As Mayor Chris Coleman describes it: “This innovative idea to help streamline city processes would cut red tape in our community and would continue to show that Saint Paul is open for business.”

For the next step in the competition, St. Paul will send a team to New York City, where the finalists will work with experts to refine their ideas.

There’s tough competition:

  • Boston wants to “put student data in the cloud under the control of parents and guardians and empower them to share the data with educators and entrepreneurs. It will unleash the education apps/device movement.”
  • Cincinnati will “cut its city’s infant mortality rate in half through an unprecedented network of early intervention, education and community-oriented care that will reach 100% of new mothers.”
  • Hillsboro, Ore., will “create transportation hubs — based on a just-in-time, coordinated management model — throughout the community that connect neighborhoods and employment sites with sustainable transportation options.”

See all the other finalists here.

The goal is to develop great ideas that can then be shared with other cities.