VALPARAISO | The budget balancing challenge prompted city Public Works Director Matt Evans to hire a consultant that can save his department money and make it more efficient.
The city's Board of Public Works and Safety agreed Thursday to authorize Evans to contract with Waste Revelation, a Valparaiso company, to look over operations of his department for better ways of doing business. The best part is: Waste Revelation doesn't get paid unless it succeeds in saving the city money.
"It always helps to bring in a fresh set of eyes that works in the industry helping vendors negotiate contracts," Evans said. "I'm hoping the fresh perspective can deliver savings for the year. The onus is on them to get us some savings."
Details of the contract, such as the length of it, still are being worked out, but Evans said the company will start as soon as it is finalized. He expects it to take several months for Waste Revelation to complete its analysis and come up with recommendations. If it saves the city money, it will split the savings 50-50.
"It has to be real savings, not hypothetical," he said. "Any recommendations must be based on a benchmark of what we provide today, and it will be reviewed regularly to determine how much we pay them. They will monitor that to further ensure the contracts we have with vendors are followed and we are not being short-changed."
Evans said the consultant will monitor what the city receives from recycling and how much it pays in tipping fees to make sure it is getting the maximum for one and paying the minimum for the latter. It also will look at the truck routes for picking up trash and recycling to make sure the city is optimizing its fuel consumption.
"Ultimately we will be more efficient and finish our tasks more quickly so we can deploy our people to do other things."
Evans said crews usually finish the pickup routes at noon or 1 p.m. Any additional time saved would leave more time for them to work on picking up brush, trimming branches blocking signs, patching potholes, picking up leaves, picking up trash along the sections of Ind. 130 recently turned over to the city by the state or other chores.
"Because there is so much work up front, we would enter into an agreement for more than a year," Evans said. "Typically they do three to five years, but we are looking at what is best for the taxpayers."