Springfield gets grant to improve efficiency

The city has been awarded a grant worth approximately $40,000 from the Ohio Development Services Agency as part of its local government efficiency program.

The money will be used for lean six sigma training, a popular management concept designed to make processes more efficient throughout different departments inside City Hall.

The first project will be training code enforcement officials to “increase efficiency in compliance delivery, so the city can reduce expenses for weed mowing,” according to the project description from the OSDA.

The city hopes to reduce the amount of time it spends mowing tall grass on vacant lots, meaning fewer properties will need mowed around it. This will also allow the city to reduce the money spent on junk and trash removal from those properties.

“This will be one of several projects we’ll evaluate and complete throughout the training process,” said Leslie McDermott, assistant to the city manager. “We’re very excited about it.”

The city spends approximately $85,000 per year in mowing cases and collects less than 10 percent of the actual funds spent on enforcement.

If it reaches its goal, the city could see approximately $40,000 in annual savings in both tall grass and junk and trash orders.

The city will hire a consultant to perform the training once the money becomes available. The city hasn’t specifically determined the other projects, but McDermott said the grant money could be used on building regulations and the service department, among others.

“We’re going to look at many city processes to see where we can improve,” McDermott said.

City commissioners recently approved a 10 percent match for the grant, an expenditure of up to $4,500.

Springfield was one of 11 grants and two loans approved by the Local Government Innovation Fund, which includes programs for both innovation and efficiency. The 13 projects totaled approximately $1.44 million.

“Collaboration is key when it comes to saving money,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, in a press release. “Through the process of sharing services and eliminating unnecessary costs, communities have already seen savings as a result of this program.”

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