Mid-size city adopts changes to ensure “best value services”

Client need

A mid-size city wanted to preserve its excellent satisfaction ratings while addressing the concerns of a volatile economy and increasing labor and related costs. The recession and a twenty percent drop in revenues led the city to embark on a “best value services” program with the goal of ensuring the city would be a sustainable organization—one that provides the best quality at lowest cost.

Baker Tilly solution

Baker Tilly performed a comprehensive operational review, evaluating service delivery methods and costs for all city operations except sworn public safety services. The Baker Tilly team analyzed the city’s cost of service in each functional area and worked closely with city finance and accounting staff to determine appropriate cost centers. For each assessment, we documented current service levels and costs; benchmarked major services against regional service providers, national standards, best practices, and trends; ensured the city’s resources and strategic priorities are aligned; and conducted gap analysis, identified alternative service delivery approaches, and estimated impacts.

The parks and recreation assessment concentrated on:

  • Custodial services
  • Hardscape/specialty maintenance
  • Landscape and tree maintenance
  • Aquatics services
  • Historical parks services
  • Recreation services
  • Rental services
  • Trails, open space, and preserves maintenance

At the center of the transportation assessment was:

  • Capital improvement plan and asset management
  • Traffic signal systems
  • Custodial services
  • Street maintenance and operations
  • Construction management and inspection services

The emphases of the utilities, property, and environmental assessments were:

  • Environmental management
  • Fleet maintenance
  • Fleet replacement
  • Facility services
  • Real estate
  • Civic projects
  • Safety training center
  • Potable and recycled water
  • Wastewater
  • Storm drain maintenance
  • Solid waste
  • Utilities engineering

Baker Tilly results

Baker Tilly identified 48 opportunities for parks and recreation with $2.3 million to $4.7 million annually in estimated potential savings, revenue enhancements, or resource reallocations. The city council unanimously voted to implement operational improvements, consider organizational changes, and explore outsourcing park maintenance.

For transportation, Baker Tilly identified 44 opportunities with $1.56 million to $2.42 million in annual cost savings, revenue enhancements, and resource allocations, as well as 38 additional opportunities related to efficiency, policy, organization, and outsourcing. The city council unanimously approved a recommendation to consider outsourcing its traffic signal systems and automated traffic management system.

In addition, Baker Tilly identified 31 resource optimization opportunities for utilities, property, and environmental management and is currently assessing the financial impact.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.