IVGID GM’s Corner: Providing great service at the best cost | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: Providing great service at the best cost

Steve Pinkerton

Groundhog Day is a reminder for most Americans that February has arrived. Here at IVGID, reminders to get started on the 2015-2016 budget let us know that it must be February.

While budget has been an annual February tradition here at IVGID for many decades, I'm hoping to build on the great analysis done in years past.

I've asked staff to do more looking beyond the numbers and finding more ways to quantify the service we provide to the community.

What do I mean by that? It means continuing to do more than just counting the number of skier visits, tracking the users at the Recreation Center and compiling the rounds of golf played at the Mountain Course.

It means tracking the number of times the restrooms are cleaned each day at each of our public venues, compiling turnaround times for responding to a utility department customer service request and clearly defining the minimum standards for maintenance levels for fairways at the golf course, the ball field at Preston Park, and the courts at the Tennis Center.

Each of these service measurements has a cost associated with them. Our goal here at IVGID is to provide the highest level of service at the lowest possible cost.

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The only way to determine whether or not we've met that goal is to better define that "highest level of service" and then make sure we are delivering that service in the most cost effective way possible.

So how do we do that? The first step is to do exactly what I noted above. We are going to quantify the most pertinent service measures within each function at IVGID.

The next step is to determine the current cost of providing that level of service. It is then management's responsibility to ensure that we are delivering the service at the lowest cost possible.

That may mean looking at the historical cost of performing the service, or reviewing what we spend on providing a similar service or reviewing what other agencies may spend to provide that service.

It also means reviewing whether or not that service could be combined with another service we provide — therefore reducing the cost for both services.

Finally, we have to determine the revenue and long term cost implications of a specific level of service.

Once we've gone through this evaluation process, we then use the budget review process to determine whether or not the Board of Trustees concurs with the service level we are have proposed to provide for that service.

If the Board desires a higher level of service, we can then tell them what it would cost to enhance that service. If they feel the service level is excessive, we can tell them the cost for a lower level of service.

I realize this is a lot of theory. Let's use a real life example. Let's say parks maintenance has proposed that all playfields in town be mowed once a week and fertilized every other week during the growing season.

Management determines that this has been our practice in the past, is consistent with best practices in the region and that the proposed cost is less than surrounding communities.

Management is also reviewing trash pickup in parks and determines that the maintenance crews could perform this duty while performing playfield maintenance, thus allowing reduced staffing levels for the cleanup crew.

The proposed level of service is proposed to the Board of Trustees. The Trustees ask what the impact would be if mowing was reduced to every other week.

Management responds that while the cost would be reduced by 70 percent, potential for injuries at the field would increase, and it would impact the long-term health of the field and create higher maintenance costs in the future.

In addition, the deteriorated field conditions would likely lead to a 50 percent reduction in rentals, as a number of potential users would go to other communities.

In summary, the short-term savings would likely be offset by future costs, loss of revenues and a diminished level of service to the community.

After reviewing all of the factors, the Trustees vote to support staff's original recommendation.

While this sort of example is literally getting down into the weeds of IVGID's operations, it is an example of the hundreds of individual analyses that we'll be going through over the next couple of months.

It is our goal to make sure that we provide a level of service that meets or exceeds your expectations at the best possible cost.

"GM's Corner" is a twice-monthly column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.