The Problem Families are watching their budgets and managing spending as efficiently as possible, focusing on necessities and eliminating unessential spending. Government at every level should do the same—while some are, others are not.
In the current economic climate most municipal governments are experiencing significant declines in revenues, which has led to spending cutbacks for operations and infrastructure projects. As a result, governments increasingly must do “more with less.” They must be creative about discovering methods for reducing cost baselines and maximizing the effective use of resources to provide municipal services.
Our Solution The Village of Grayslake provides some useful best practices other local municipalities and state government in Illinois should consider. In order to provide quality services to its community while at the same time holding down operating costs, the Village of Grayslake has actively sought out non-traditional service delivery tools, including:
Government-to-government vendor relationships
The Village also adheres to certain core philosophies that make its success in saving taxpayers dollars and providing quality services possible, such as, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” and “Just because we always have done it this way is no reason to continue.”
Why This Works Non-traditional delivery approaches to municipal services—methods often used in the private sector—are viable and achievable in the public sector, and if utilized, can help hold down costs. The use of these approaches in Grayslake has resulted in the reduction of needed in-house staff, cut costs for the delivery of services, reduced annual staff hours by 57,955 and cut annual costs by $2,760,620.
The Village’s long-time use of evaluation methods, time use management plans, and a variety of service delivery methods has both held down operating costs and per capita spending has risen 35 percent less than inflation since 1992. Annual spending today is $8.3 million lower than it would have been if the Village simply kept spending on pace with population and inflation increases.
If Grayslake had not implemented these cost-saving measures, it would potentially be facing a $23.7 million budget instead of $16 million. Since the public sector is not profit-oriented, management often fails to continuously seek ways to cut costs. No business can operate this way and no government should. The Village of Grayslake offers practical solutions that work. Local governments across Illinois should take note, as should state government.