May 25, 2011
The Phoenix City Council Finance, Efficiency and Innovation Subcommittee met today and approved $5.7 million in savings for the city. The largest reductions are from the Water Services Department, which proposed additional organizational changes and reductions with an estimated cost savings of $2.4 million.
When the Phoenix City Council approved a water rate increase earlier this year, the Council required staff to identify savings and propose reductions equal to five percent of the department’s operating budget. As a result, the following changes were identified and approved today: eliminate 21 vacant positions; revise water production and wastewater treatment plant schedules to reduce overlapping coverage; replace contract trainers with in-house staff; terminate participation of an underground storage project; and eliminate the “Project Wet” water conservation educator training program. The approved reductions will have no impact on current service levels.
"We’ve listened to our residents’ concerns about fiscal responsibility and reduced spending," said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the Subcommittee. “The taxpayers are doing more with less and expect the same from the city of Phoenix. I’m proud of the cost savings we’ve identified since the start of this Subcommittee – but it’s not over – we will continue our discussions and work diligently to find additional efficiencies.”
Also, another $2.65 million in approved first-year savings was identified through a competitive bidding process for medical and dental benefits for city employees, retirees and their dependents. Phoenix continues to explore ways to keep the rising cost of health care manageable and affordable.
The Subcommittee also approved contract reductions with Veolia Transportation and First Transit, Inc. to save nearly $650,000, which was achieved by bringing more of the transit service scheduling in-house to the city’s Public Transit Department and working closely with the contractors to identify cost savings for each contract.
For more information on how Phoenix is spending less and creating a smaller, more efficient government, visit the Innovation and Efficiency website.
|Stephanie Ribodal Romero