Getting the job done with fewer dollars
When Ken Ryder became public works director for Lebanon, N,H., (population 35,000), there was a clear mission ahead. Get the job done with fewer dollars. Costs were increasing as was the workload. The community’s growth, coupled with state and federal mandates, was making it more and more difficult to maintain the same level of service and stay within budget.
The department needed to control costs and operate more efficiently, and detailed cost information was needed to make valid decisions. However, it was quickly discovered that record-keeping was virtually nonexistent.The county wasn’t even manually recording some information,” Ryder says. “How can costs be managed if the county doesn’t even know what they are@ The county is responsible for millions of taxpayer dollars, and it is not able to account for where all the money is going.” To solve the problem, Ryder found Complete Street, a software application designed by CitiTech Systems, Rapid City, S.D., specifically designed for public works and road departments.
The software integrated all major tasks into one program. This approach, called activity-based costing, or ABC for short, is a major departure from tradition.
When someone does something uses a truck or takes inventory items – one entry captures important detail information.
Rather than using five or six separate entries, the single entry manages all the major functions of the department, from fleet maintenance to pavement management.
For example, the system can track the individual cost of potholes. Until recently, cities and counties did not bother tracking individual costs because they managed departments and programs, not individual costs.
The software integrates work order management, fleet management, project management, equipment maintenance management, inventory control and purchase orders, payroll reporting, pavement management, traffic safety, fund accounting, budgeting, job costing and labor accounting into one comprehensive application. Information is available in one place instead of scattered in several different software programs.
When a council member asks how much was spent on pothole repair costs on the northside of town in the past six months, the answer is a few keystrokes away.
When a taxpayer complains that nothing is being done to maintain the street, a detailed history is available instantly.