It’s easier — and greener — to apply for city of Santa Barbara jobs now, thanks to a new paperless process for online applications. More than 90 percent of those seeking city employment are using the new system.

Nearing the one-year anniversary of the city’s online application system, NEOGOV, officials have accomplished two primary objectives:

• To increase applications by providing a more user-friendly, online application.

• To significantly reduce the consumption of paper.

“This recent success with the new online employment application demonstrates how city employees are taking sustainability seriously,” Mayor Pro Tempore Grant House said. “We are implementing real workplace changes that are contributing to a more environmentally friendly organization and city.”

Since going live with NEOGOV on March 31, Santa Barbara has received 3,881 applications for regular positions. By comparison, in the 12 months before the program’s debut, 2,464 applications were received. In less than a year, a 57.5 percent increase in applications has been recorded.

“An important precept of ‘Sustainable Santa Barbara’ is that we work creatively to reduce waste and consumption without any decline in efficiency or functionality,” said City Administrator Jim Armstrong. “To significantly increase our applications shows, that in the course of implementing a greener process, we’ve also succeeded in improving our service to the community and prospective applicants.”

In addition to more job interest, the transition to an online application process has resulted in a significant reduction in paper usage. Only 383 of the new applications have been submitted in paper format — a decrease of nearly 85 percent.

“The online application is just one of the city’s many efforts to streamline processes, which in the past, may have been less conservation-minded than we now strive for,” Administrative Services director Marcelo Lopez said. “In this case, all applications used to be paper and typically three to four pages.

“Now the only applications using any paper are the few still submitted in hard-copy and hired candidates’ applications, which are printed out for their employee files.”

Previously, paper applications also were frequently copied for rating panels and various departments. Those ratings are now conducted online and passing candidates’ applications are electronically referred to their respective departments, further reducing paper consumption.

Tom Jaime is an employee of the city of Santa Barbara’s Administrative Services Department.