Jo Huber, the department's special events director, used contracted labor, bought fewer supplies and cut out five days and 13 operating hours from the 2003 event. "We devised a better plan to put this event together," Huber said, adding she spent three weeks working with Parks and Recreation Director Starlene Shackelford on the plan.
"It is a much smarter way to spend taxpayer dollars." Huber began thinking of cost-saving strategies after Clarksville Mayor Don Trotter asked department heads to reduce spending in this year's budget.
After studying attendance records from previous years, Huber
decided to end the event on Dec. 27, five days sooner than the previous year.She
also closed the event at 10:30 a.m. on weekends.In years past, it continued until midnight.
said the bulk of savings came with using contracted labor to decorate the park this year.In 2002, the city spent $60,641 for city workers to put up decorations.
"We wanted to see if we could do it cheaper by bidding it out, and that is what we did," she
The low bid of $13,000 came from Labor Ready
, a provider of temporary manual labor.Clarksville Street Department
shared the labor cost with Parks and Recreation, she
said in the past, city workers began decorating the RiverWalk at McGregor Park during the third week of September.But Labor Ready
's workers set to work on Oct. 28.
The company completed the job for $11,954 and one week ahead of schedule, she
The city also cut down on the number of city employees recruited to work the event, saving $3,652 from 2002 costs. Huber
said city electricians had worked the event every night during previous events, and city facility managers provided supervision on most nights.Those city employees are usually paid more because they hold supervisory positions.
"We did not have any key personnel working on the event this year," Huber
said only one facilities manager from Parks and Recreation supervised the 2003 event.
The department also cut down decorations and supplies this year, saving $16,051. Huber
said the event usually features 300 trees with Christmas lights, a labor intensive and expensive effort.
"I cut that number in half," she
said, adding the department provided lighting for 125 trees.
"We just did things much smarter this year," she
Mike Perry covers city government and can be reached at 245-0716 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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