WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

City Hall Overhaul

Mayor Jim Newberry is presenting to the Urban County Council Tuesday afternoon a management audit of city government.

The audit includes over 400 recommendations for improvements that the mayor says is designed to increase government efficiency and effectiveness. The mayor says if all recommendations are approved, there will be about $10 million in savings.

“We’re facing a $25 million shortfall for the 09 budget year, so saving money is very important,” the Mayor said.

Newberry says the main purpose of the audit is to make government operate more efficiently so that citizens receive better service. Yet it also means adding jobs in areas where service is lacking or non-existent. Mayor Newberry also talks about existing jobs, and how there are proposals to eliminate some positions.

“The auditors have taken a very hard, in-depth look at government operations and found many useful ideas that can help government operate faster, better and cheaper,” Newberry said.

“I plan to work with the Council to identify ways to implement the study.”

Newberry said the city has never undertaken such an in-depth, critical self-examination.

The audit was conducted by Management Partners, consultants based in Cincinnati. It includes recommendations concerning structure, policies and processes, staffing levels, operational practices, strategic work and financial planning.

The firm has been studying city government since August, talking to elected officials, management and staff and comparing Lexington’s operations to best practices found in other cities. City officials say the changes it has proposed are designed to clarify responsibilities, eliminate redundancies, streamline management and promote large-scale improvement.

The recommendations include proposals to:

•Make recycling and yard waste collection mandatory.
•Replace the property tax used to collect solid waste with a pay-as-you-toss fee structure to encourage recycling.
•Streamline the city’s confusing approval process for development
projects, while employing technology to ensure strict adherence to
regulations.
•Reduce the number of city cars by 97 units, generating $651,000
through sales and saving an estimated $2.7 million in replacement
costs.
•Make some Parks programming more self-supporting through increased
fees and innovative programs that generate revenue.
•Centralize maintenance and management of city property;
•To save money, close underutilized recreation facilities, including little-
used, older neighborhood pools, while reinvesting in other recreational
facilities or programs in those neighborhoods;
•Inspect all Lexington rental units to ensure that they meet basic
standards for safety and cleanliness;
•Shift the Citizens Advocate responsibilities to LexCall to ensure quality
service from the first moment of citizen contact;
•Staff ambulances with two firefighters instead of the current three
(Many times firefighters are on the scene in addition to the ambulance crew. All firefighters are trained emergency medical technicians and
many are trained paramedics). Two is the staff level used by most cities.
•Streamline historic preservation efforts and improve efficiency and
consistency by placing historic preservation within the Division of
Planning.


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