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Thread: Restructuring planning departments and local governments

  1. #1
    Cyburbian lilschmidty's avatar
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    Restructuring planning departments and local governments

    The community I work for is facing a large budget deficit for next year. At a recent City Council meeting a council member stated that the City needs to restructure itself by cutting services that weren't required by state statutes and by combining services with the county.

    I'm interested on how this may be done and how this may effect my planning department. How have the communities you work for restructured their local governments (i.e contracting out, eliminate local commissions, etc)?

    Are their any other unique or creative strategies that your community has implemented that does not result in staff reductions?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I can't say I can help much. Most of our restructuring was to "flatten out" the organization. We combined some departments like water is now part of public works and community initiatives (housing) is now part of community development. In the end we dropped a lot of people and lost some department managers. Sorry, we're not a very creative city sometimes.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by lilschmidty View post
    The community I work for is facing a large budget deficit for next year. At a recent City Council meeting a council member stated that the City needs to restructure itself by cutting services that weren't required by state statutes and by combining services with the county.

    I'm interested on how this may be done and how this may effect my planning department. How have the communities you work for restructured their local governments (i.e contracting out, eliminate local commissions, etc)?

    Are their any other unique or creative strategies that your community has implemented that does not result in staff reductions?

    Thank you.
    You can shuffle some paper around and change some nameplate titles and borrow from funds and such, but things like 'large' deficits almost always mean staff cuts. Many of us will (or have) faced this situation. And will for the next several years. Council will direct staff to cut losses, and depending upon the competence of department heads, losses will be cut. Look at revenues. If they are dependent upon sales tax and permit fees, there is little opportunity to gain revenue and reverse losses.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I am aware of a handful of communities that have combined planning and economic development under one roof, often eliminating a department head and sometimes support staff in the process. Usually it is the economic development director who takes charge of the new department. Sorry, folks.

    There is some movement to study combined services in this state. One effort that will probably go ahead is the combining of police forces in the City of Appleton and neighboring Town of Grand Chute, in Wisconsin. Only my opinion here, but in reality there is no reason for the town to exist. It should all be annexed to the City.

    I read earlier this year that the governor of Pennsylvania had proposed a requiremtn to reduce the number of school districts in the state by about 20 percent through forced consiolidations. I don't know if the idea made it through the budget process. It has plenty of merit. We really do have too many governmental entities at the local level.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian lilschmidty's avatar
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    One effort that will probably go ahead is the combining of police forces in the City of Appleton and neighboring Town of Grand Chute, in Wisconsin. Only my opinion here, but in reality there is no reason for the town to exist. It should all be annexed to the City.
    I grew up in Appleton and am continually looking to get back to the Fox Cities, but I agree that Appleton should annex Grand Chute.

    The City I work for now has had discussions about combining services with the County. In fact, my City does not have a Human Resources Director and that role may be taken over by the County's HR Director.

    I think shared services are a good way to reduce costs.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Shared services are great if everyone plays well together. I have seen a few Joint City County Planning Commissions that work, someone has to be able to take the back seat. Often egos get in the way.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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