The SmartTowns.org Web site, which makes available a popular manual for helping taxpayer groups audit town finances, will focus on the 10 best ways for towns and other municipalities to save money while maintaining, or improving, the local services. The ideas will likely change over time as they will be selected on the basis of proven usefulness across the country.
“These top 10 are those with significant money‐saving budget impacts while being achievable in the real world,” said Lewis Andrews, editor of the Web site. “While education is usually the big‐ticket item in a budget and well represented in the top 10, the best ideas also include those pertaining to police, 911 communications and other safety functions, as well as contracting and purchasing, staffing policies and procedures, and other facets of town and city governance. We’re excited that an increasing number of places are successfully adopting these ideas in one form or another.”
Topics currently highlighted include:
- Use education graduate students as teacher aides.
- Pool emergency services within towns.
- Pool services between and among towns.
- Cross-train public employees.
- Form a citizens audit committee.
- Deputize volunteers to perform certain police and other functions.
- Frequently rebid contracts for insurance, energy and other services.
- Double-check employee records for accuracy.
- Broadly deploy blended learning practices.
- Reward students for early graduation.
Andrews welcomes feedback and suggestions for the Web site. “Give us some details of your money-saving idea and we’ll share it with others in our e‐mailed bulletins,” he said. “And if you want to be on our mailing list, just let me know, at [email protected]“.
Operated by NABR, a Connecticut based not‐for‐profit taxpayer group, the website’s information and ideas are free for all and sells nothing.