RANCHO CUCAMONGA - The city has begun work to update the computer software it uses toward growth and development.

The city council on Wednesday approved an agreement to purchase new software that will enable city staff, land use developers, business people, and residents to send and review building plans, and check on permits, among other development related work, from a mobile phone or wireless device.

Total cost of the six-year agreement is about $3 million, according to a city report on the project. The city is replacing outdated software, which it has had since 1999. The new software is from Accela, Inc.

To help fund the technological switch, the city is implementing a 4.5 percent technology fee applied to all city and fire district permit and inspection activities. In addition, the council on Wednesday approved reduced city and fire service fees.

New revenue will help recover some of the initial six year cost of the project and create an ongoing funding source for the replacement of the system in the future, according to the report.

The city Fire District is funding $928,700 of the project cost.

On Wednesday, the council authorized annual lease payments of $424,100 for five years beginning on July 10, 2013, and $153,600 for implementation services.

Jeff Bloom, Deputy City Manager for Economic and Community Development, said the new system software is hosted on the Internet, or "the cloud," in the same way Google e-mail messages are hosted on Internet.

Bloom said construction superintendents would be able to use smartphones or wireless devices to connect with the city and request inspections or do plan checks. Staff will be able to access the system from the field to check on permits for a particular parcel.

"It modernizes the software from the point of view of users from both the public and city staff," Bloom said. "It allows for mobile applications and field applications, that have not been available or easier to do with the old software."

neil.nisperos@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-483-9356 Follow @RanchoNow on Facebook and Twitter