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City hires consultant in money saving lesson

By Leah Linscheid, llinscheid@wkbt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:36:03 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 07:18:54 PM CST
 City Takes a Lesson in Saving

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE (WKBT) -

The city is taking lessons today on how best to spend its citizens' tax dollars.

Funding is a constraint local governments are constantly battling, and La Crosse is one of them - so city officials are trying to do more with less. Heads of several departments met with a consultant Tuesday morning with a goal of finding ways to save money.

"The reality is we're not going to see more resources financially, so we need to look at ways to  maintain our service levels and see if there's opportunities to enhance those with limited or less resources than we have today," said Mayor Tim Kabat.

The consultant, Walter Jankowski of Madison-based Reinvention Consulting, is already pointing out ways to save money and operate more efficiently - like saving paper and going electronic, and streamlining the application  process for development projects.

But according to Jankowski, this is just the start of a months-long process.

"This is a great beginning, it's a great start to identify those opportunities, but where the rubber hits the road is when you actually do your first couple projects and actually start seeing the savings and the impact to the citizens," he said.

Kabat is hoping the changes will lead not only to savings, but happier residents.

"What I'm hoping to see is a more responsive city government, so if there are questions or challenges we'll be able to address those more quickly, more effectively," Kabat said.

The consultant will spend the next three or four months meeting with city departments and determining where processes can be streamlined or money can be saved. He will then make a recommendation to City Council on how to implement those changes.

Kabat said those recommendations should come to Council just in time to make adjustments for the 2015 city budget. He added his focus is to save money and provide better services, but if wasted spending is found in any city departments, some job cuts could be a possibility.

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