Like many municipalities searching for digital transformation solutions, Castroville's recreation processes were almost entirely manual before implementing the CivicPlus Recreation Management system.
"When everything was paper-based, particularly if you were facilitating special event activities, personnel would have to be there, in-person, to help residents fill out a form," said Fredrickson. "If each form completion took 10 minutes, for example, and you had to repeat the process 30 times, that's a lot of staff time dedicated to a process that could be digitized and automated."
Fredrickson knew he needed to shift to processes that would free up staff time and enable residents to self-service their needs online any time of the day or night on any device.
"Even our older populations seem to be dipping their toes in the digital world and using their iPhones for more," said Fredrickson. "You're seeing more people in that demographic that don't want to deal with cash anymore and want to be able to do business online. They don't want to interact with people if they don't have to, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Choosing a Scalable, Affordable Solution Partner
When Fredrickson began searching for a recreation management system, Castroville was already partnering with CivicPlus as its Municipal Website partner. Therefore, Fredrickson included CivicPlus in his consideration set when evaluating recreation management software options.
"I tested several recreation management systems, doing trial runs, and presented findings to our council. CivicPlus had the best features for the price and greater customization capabilities. Most of the other vendors we considered didn't want to try to assist us in figuring out how to configure the system to meet the unique needs of our RV park. CivicPlus did, which was huge because as of right now, we've brought in significant revenue just from our RV park."
Transparency, Valuable Data, and Resource Savings
In addition to improved staff and public usability, one of Fredrickson's most critical goals when implementing a recreation management system was to ensure greater visibility and transparency into his department's revenue-generating activities.
"The whole point of city government is to provide a service and be able to provide the data that supports that service," Fredrickson said. "You want to see what's coming in and out and ensure you're being efficient. Now, if someone calls and says I need this information, I can press a few buttons on my computer, and there it is. From a financial standpoint, I can run reports. I can show them how many people are utilizing our product for a month or how many transactions there have been. Then you can quantify changes in your department."
Detailed reporting was essential to the City of Castroville. Fredrickson says it's been a significant benefit knowing he can gather the necessary statistics.
"You can build a report based on an activity or user, basically anything you need. I feel like I've only dipped into the shallow end of those possibilities."
A Positive Financial and Time-Saving ROI
As soon as the system was operational, Fredrickson was experiencing benefits. He indicates that the CivicPlus Recreation Management system cut his overall task list by 50 percent, opened his schedule for more strategic projects, and supplied him with actionable and insightful data.
"If you're working in city government, you have the money you're given, and if you don't utilize it to the fullest extent, it doesn't make sense."
According to Fredrickson, the implementation of CivicPlus Recreation Management software has allowed him and his team to see a 25 to 30 percent increase in annual revenue.
"We've doubled the size of our department and our revenue," he said. "And we're only 75 percent through the year. So, we're going to crush projections."
For the City of Castroville, partnering with CivicPlus has meant a responsible use of taxpayer dollars and mitigation of unnecessary spending.
"I think we've saved a forest without having to print all our paper forms anymore," said Fredrickson."
Overall, Fredrickson says that the CivicPlus Recreation Management system has exceeded his expectations.
"It realistically has met every expectation, and we even had some that I thought were unreal expectations."