THE not-so-contemporary city agency known as L&I is getting a boost into the 21st century with the mayor's unveiling of a Web-based data system to be rolled out in the next two years.

Project eCLIPSE (electronic Commercial Licensing, Inspection and Permit Services Enterprise) was designed to improve the speed and efficiency of a Department of Licenses & Inspections system otherwise bogged down with paper and red tape.

"For far too long, the L&I staff have been operating at a technical disadvantage," Mayor Nutter said yesterday.

"Nearly all permits, licensing and plan-review business have to be completed in person and with hard copy. Busy people with busy lives trying to do business have to come down to Center City, file paperwork and make their payments in the Municipal Services Building. In order to bring Philadelphia into the modern age, we have to be a modern government."

The new paperless system was budgeted as part of the mayor's investment in the Office of Innovation & Technology. The upgrade will cost about $4.5 million, to be spent over five years. The investment is expected to yield great savings in the long run, but the mayor said it was too soon to say how much.

The Department of Licenses & Inspections will begin to implement the system next month, with tentative completion in December 2015. L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams said no staff reductions would result.