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A proposal to fund a study seeking to gain efficiency and better performance within Jefferson City's government has merit.

Ward 3 Councilman Scott Spencer suggested the study, saying it should come before an updated compensation study that's also being discussed.

A compensation study was done five years ago, and a new study would mostly update the numbers.

But a performance study could determine ways to gain efficiencies, particularly efficiencies in personnel services. Then an updated salary study could take place.

As we recently reported, Spencer said during the last two decades, more of the city budget has gone into personnel services — from 61.7 percent in 1994 to 80.15 percent in the approved 2022 budget.

Specifically, Spencer said the study could look at:

- What a 3-6 percent personnel reduction would look like;

- How the city could outsource services such as parking, utilities, transit, parks and human resources services;

- Whether there could be consolidation of city and county services, such as health inspections and public works;

- Whether the city is providing services that should be done by nonprofits or private industry;

- Whether there's a way to recoup costs for certain emergency responses by billing insurance companies for outside the city/county residents.

Spencer said the study would cost $50,000-$70,000. City Administrator Steve Crowell said that amount could double, depending on the scope of the study.

Still, that would be a relatively small chunk of money in terms of the city's overall budget of $64.4 million in the current fiscal year. Assuming efficiencies are found, the study could easily pay for itself.

Over recent years, the state has created a leaner workforce, but they've increased pay for existing employees, particularly ones with jobs in high demand such as information technology jobs.

Perhaps the city could gain efficiencies that would reduce its payroll through attrition. Then the city could follow up with an updated compensation study — one the city hopefully could act on.

News Tribune

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