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Everybody's doing more with less. Even your local municipality.

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

Everybody is doing more with less than ever before, whether it's private industry or public municipalities.  Nobody wants to raise taxes, which means budgets for public entities are stretched to the breaking point.  The struggle over the Federal Highway Trust Fund is a great example of what this looks like.  The Trust Fund is used to pay for important things like road improvements and bridge repairs.  But its main source of funding, the federal gas tax, hasn't gone up since the Clinton Administration. So the Fund struggles to stay solvent with the buying power of 60% of what it used to have. 

doing more with lessThe only way to increase the Fund is to raise gas taxes, which is political death, these days.  So the Fund, and the groups that provide the services it pays for, have to do more with less. It's the same story with groups on the city and county level - the municipalities that provide local services.  They're certainly no stranger to budget pressures.  And they need all the help they can get.

That's where companies like us come in. One of the things Bell Performance does is provide a way for city and municipal groups to shift some of their budgetary uncertainty over to the fixed cost column.  Problems like equipment breakdown, whether related to fuel or not, can't really be predicted but do sap needed funds from tight budgets. So the smart managers try to prevent these unforseen costs by spending a little more on preventive maintenance - which is a fixed cost. 

So not only does preventive maintenance cost less than reactive action (reacting to fix a problem after it's started), it has the added value of cutting down on the headaches by putting more cost certainty into the yearly budget.

Note - for our friends up in the New Jersey area, come see us at the NJLM Show . That's the yearly meeting of the New Jersey League of Municipalities., November 18-20.  We're looking forward to seeing there. If you read this blog, be sure to mention it!

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This post was published on November 12, 2014 and was updated on November 13, 2014.