City governments, like any other government institutions, are always looking for ways to run their businesses more cost-effectively. In times of recession or when the budget falls short, it is important for cities to consider some money saving ideas to implement into the government to make up for those shortfalls.
Money Saving Ideas for City Government
Not every idea a city government comes up with is going to be the best solution for saving money. Starting with plenty of options is the best way to narrow down the money saving opportunities.
Shorter Work Weeks
One of the most commonly touted ideas for saving money in workplace settings like city governments is to create shorter work weeks. Working four days a week for 10 hours, or four and a half days a week, often saves money in a variety of areas, from utilities to efficiency costs.
City governments may find that they need to be open on weekends as well as during the week. Rather than pay an employee overtime to work additional hours, it may be more cost effective to bring in some part-time employees and have them work shorter hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Discuss the pros and cons of this plan with the city council and citizens before implementing a trial run. It may not work out in every situation, but it is a good idea for city governments to consider.
Improving efficiency is crucial to making city governments run better and cheaper than before. Efficiency improvements can be made in virtually every aspect of city government, such as:
- Reviewing trash and recycling pick-up for the best routes to save gas money and time
- Eliminating unnecessary meetings, allowing workers more time on the job
- Cutting red tape and superfluous paperwork
- Streamlining training processes for new hires
Many companies and governments bring in efficiency money saving experts to review current practices. Sometimes these experts offer unique suggestions and are worth the money. Other times, they may not have feasible solutions and be a costly expense for a budget already strapped for money. In these cases, consider asking department heads to make recommendations, or even allow employees to anonymously submit their own ideas for saving money.
Many companies and governments find that "going green" actually saves them money. For example, sending out bills via email and allowing for online bill payments saves them not only the paper costs, but also the costs of hiring someone to open each payment and process it manually.
Consider switching to energy and money saving products, such as desk cleaners, long-lasting energy-efficient light bulbs, and automatic light switches.
Unpopular Government Saving Ideas
Not all money saving ideas in the city government are met with praise. These ideas usually include:
- Raising fees for citizens
- Raising taxes
- Cutting employee benefits
- Freezing raises
- Laying off workers
- Eliminating services, such as recylcing pick-up
While unpopular, it is sometimes necessary to implement one or more of the money saving strategies above. Many unpopular cutbacks are only temporary and are usually used in conjunction with other solutions in order to help things get back on track faster.
City Government Budgets
City governments need to keep a close eye on their budgets for each department and review them as necessary. Buying a brand new fire truck may not be the best idea if a cheaper used one can be obtained. Making only necessary purchases and comparison shopping for all supplies can help keep budgets in line.
Implementing some of the money saving ideas offered will help keep budgets in check while allowing the government to continue meeting the needs of its citizens.