The most important thing any community can do is keep its municipal code regularly maintained so it remains a reliable resource for the entire community. Choosing a professional codifier over having municipal staff do the work is the smart choice financially, from a time- and resource-savings perspective, and ensuring the code’s enforceability.
The Realities of Self-Publishing Codification
When it comes to making important code updates, some municipalities are considering doing the work themselves — or bundling their code update process with another solution in hopes of giving themselves greater flexibility. However, municipalities that choose the self-publishing route may be surprised — even shocked — by the realities of self-codification.
Taking the code update process “in-house” will require training to get staff up to speed — technologically and legislatively — costing time and money. The annual subscription fee for the self-publishing software will be an added expense to your online code hosting. And even the most popular self-publishing solution might not be able to deliver the accuracy, consistency, and unique formatting that a community needs and expects in its code.
Self-Codifying? Consider This
Before attempting self-publishing codification, contemplate these top 3 considerations for using a professional codifier instead:
- Dedicated Resources Required. Does your municipality have the ability to assign a dedicated staff member to maintain updates to the code, especially for frequent legislative changes? Does that person have the know-how and bandwidth to ensure that both your distributed printed books and online code remain consistently updated?
- Knowledge of the Codification Process. Does your municipal staff have the expertise to identify proper placement of information in your municipal code, and create and maintain a consistent numbering structure? Can they handle history links, disposition of ordinances and references to state and local amendments? And for the complex, graphically structured zoning code, do they have the skills to ensure that images, tables, and color coding are maintained in all printed books and the online code?
- Legislative Research and Analysis. Does your staff have the resources to keep up with statutory changes that can affect local ordinances? Will they be able to see potential issues with cross-references, missing language, and conflicting provisions?
Why a Professional Codifier is Your Best Choice
The priority of an expert codifier is to keep your code up-to-date and enforceable so your staff can focus their time on the important business of running your municipality and serving constituents.
A professional codifier also possesses unique skills and expertise that keep your municipal code clear and understandable by ensuring that all appropriate material and legislation that impact your code are incorporated, are current, are consistently presented, and free of errors.
Additionally, an expert codifier is always on the lookout for:
- laws that no longer make sense
- outdated provisions that conflict with new ones
- obsolete information and language that doesn’t keep up with current times
- old laws that have been replaced by new laws
- non-current fees, fines, and penalties (which could mean missed revenue)
Why Choose General Code over self-publishing codification?
Working with General Code, your community gets:
- A highly accurate, enforceable code
- A responsive team of experienced attorneys, legal editors, and online publishers
- Alerts when supplements are needed and information on new legislative trending topics
- Codification technology experts who are adept at maintaining an electronic version of your code
Read more about our expert codification services >
With more than 60 years in the codification business, General Code helps 4,000 municipalities nationwide understand the importance and value of professional codification services and code-centered solutions.