City of Abbotsford finds ways to save

The City of Abbotsford saved $782,200 in 2010.

The City of Abbotsford saved $782,200 in 2010.

The figure was outlined in a report by Karen Sinclair, director of strategic planning and business improvement – a department created in 2009 to find potential cost savings, new revenue opportunities and to design ways to streamline processes.

Last year, the city saved $182,000 in natural gas costs. That was partially due to a decrease in consumption, thanks to a warm winter.However, additional savings were realized by purchasing natural gas directly from the Sumas Spot Exchange for the two biggest gas users, the Abbotsford and Matsqui recreation centres.

Another $106,700 was saved by revamping the use of city hall vehicles. Savings were achieved by reducing usage of city vehicles, encouraging staff to use their own vehicles, and ride sharing. An additional $295,000 in capital savings occurred by not replacing some vehicles this year.

Other examples of savings include $27,000 by consolidating wireless communication plans, $43,000 in fleet insurance, and $22,300 in fuel costs.

“We hear regularly from people about how we waste money, so it’s good news for us to be able to save some,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

He commended Sinclair for the job she has done so far and pointed out that there are more savings to come.

“These savings are not for one year. They are an annual thing, so the rollover is great,” said Peary.

Other savings programs Sinclair plans to examine for 2011 include a review of the police fleet, facilities review, governance structure review (can some functions be better managed in different departments) and new revenue options.

“We are looking to try and save about the same amount next year,” said Sinclair.

She explained that the $295,000 in capital funds was a one-time savings, but the remaining $487,200 will be saved every year.

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