One thing we pride ourselves on here in Emergency Services is how careful we are with the taxpayer’s dollars. We are conscious all the time how we are using the dollars given to us by the taxpayers to provide the best possible services to the community.
We are constantly looking for ways to save a few bucks while still providing our employees with the best equipment and training to do the best possible job. When the Police and Fire Departments were combined at the administration level in 2012, one of our most important missions was to find cost savings and efficiency wherever possible. We take that seriously. The Department of Emergency Services in our 2014 budget should be running at 50% of our budget allocation for the year but we are running at 41% for the first half of the year.
The City Finance Director, Gary Barnes, started an annual award among the departments to bring a little friendly competition to the departments in how budgets are managed.
This year, for the 2nd year in a row, Deputy Director Jim Manning of Emergency Services/Fire was the winner of one of the 2013 Budget Cups for departments over $1M with a 12.3% savings. This is calculated as savings over the budget allocation for the department. He also won in 2012 with a whopping 22.7% savings in the Fire Department.
We have other winners in the past:
For cost savings over budget allocation: Lt. Cas Miarka for Police Patrol budget at 6% in 2011 and in 2010 for Police Technical Services at 27.6%
For budgeting accuracy, which is calculated as ending the budget year expending as closely as possible (but not going over) to the budget allocation:
Lt Hardesty in Police Communications hit the budget at 101% in 2011
Lt Miarka in Police Patrol hit it at 96% in 2012.
Our command personnel move around among the divisions of the department to learn each function and as part of that, they are responsible to operate the budget in their current area of responsibility. We see ourselves as a team brought together to produce an outcome of value for the citizens. No one division of our department operates alone–there are lots of interlinked and moving parts. What makes this challenging is that budgets are forecast 6 months in advance and throughout the fiscal year we must deal with constantly changing conditions while still achieving the goals set for us by the City Council and the goals we set for ourselves.
Congratulations to all of the other city departments who were budget cup winners as well.