Get to Know Your City

A Case Study: City of Beloit, KS

Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t have a good grasp on what assets you have and where they all are in your city?

This is the thought that Jason Rabe, City Manager for the City of Beloit, KS, had more than once before deciding to do something to address his uneasiness.

 Prior to partnering with gWorks, some of Beloit’s challenges included:

  • Reliance on paper maps that become quickly outdated
  • Documentation about assets and associated details was in paper format and housed in multiple locations
  • Travel to these various locations was often required to access asset documentation for planning and development purposes
  • Existing, cumbersome GIS (Geographic Information System) that was rarely used due to its over-complicated interfaces and the steep learning curves required to utilize the data successfully

There was a substantial amount of institutional knowledge that existed on paper and in the minds of city staff. However, this information was only available when those individuals were able to be contacted directly, or time was spent searching through the documentation. Jason knew it was imperative to capture this information and place it into a centralized repository that would be accessible to those who needed it, the moment they needed it.

Beloit had a GIS (Geographic Information System) in place, but it was not heavily utilized. Jason said this was due to it “being tailored to GIS experts, not normal, everyday staff and public use. The city felt like we were not getting our money’s worth because it was too difficult to use”.

Jason knew the City of Beloit had a problem. How were they going to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of their city and its assets, and centralize the information so it would be easily accessible? Jason knew that he wanted a true Physical Asset Management solution, and he wanted it to be cloud-based to ensure it was accessible from anywhere.

Jason wanted to create a snapshot of what Beloit’s infrastructure looked like, including mapping the locations of physical assets along with their status and/or condition. He envisioned a situation in which he no longer needed to tear his department heads away from their day-to-day responsibilities to find this information when he required it. Preparing for a Planning Commission meeting should not be delayed due to the inaccessibility of someone who was out working on a project or had the day off.

They needed to implement a change to get the results the City of Beloit needed, and they did this by partnering with gWorks. Beloit and gWorks worked closely together to make Jason’s goals a reality, and the city has realized numerous benefits after implementing SimpleCity Physical Asset Management (PAM).

The Solution - SimpleCity Physical Asset Management from gWorks

After discussions with Jason to identify his vision for what the City of Beloit needed, they determined that gWorks’ SimpleCity Physical Asset Management (PAM) software was the ideal solution. Through cooperation with Jason and his team, gWorks launched SimpleCity PAM just over two months after Beloit signed on as a client. After development and configuration of the website, gWorks provided comprehensive user training so Beloit’s city staff could hit the ground running!

Benefits Realized

“Impressive” was the word Jason used to describe SimpleCity Physical Asset Management. After implementing PAM, Jason says, “For staff, we know what we have, where it is at, and what the situation is around it. It’s our knowledge base. For the public viewers, when people see SimpleCity PAM, it gives them the impression that the city does know what we are doing, what they have, and what’s going on.” This translates to awareness and peace of mind, which are highly sought after and valuable in these unstable times.

“SimpleCity PAM has a simple interface; it’s easy to use, both internally and externally.” – Jason Rabe, City Manager, City of Beloit, KS

Beloit has found additional uses and benefits of the software, including:

  • Ease of pulling up SimpleCity PAM during City Council meetings to view assets and locations for repairs and development in real-time
  • Accessing the site during Planning Commission meetings to go through the zoning data layers
  • Documentation printed from SimpleCity PAM screenshots, which at times includes markup, drawings, and other valuable data, is often included in City Council meeting packets for reference during the meetings to showcase things like:
    • Property acquisitions
    • New bike and walking trails
    • Public Works mowing locations

One of the most significant highlights Beloit has experienced from implementing SimpleCity PAM has been securing $1.5 million in grant funding for pedestrian and bicycle improvements throughout the city. The city developed a plan and then visualized it through SimpleCity PAM, which allowed them to digitize plans, helping them secure the funding they desired.

“We love having the infrastructure layers available in SimpleCity PAM.” – Jason Rabe

When asked about the impact SimpleCity Physical Asset Management has had on the day-to-day for both Jason and city staff, he says:

“We are able to accomplish more in the same amount of time, and it is better, more productive work. We can obtain, and provide to others, the answers to questions that would undoubtedly arise later, thanks to the comprehensive amount of information available. And with SimpleCity PAM being web-based, this information is centralized and available anywhere.”

SimpleCity Physical Asset Management has greatly improved the awareness of and access to Beloit’s valuable infrastructure data, allowing them to know with confidence, act with confidence, and benefit with confidence.

 

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