All ideas, big and small, are welcome to improve government services – The Daily Gazette

When people talk about ways governments can save taxpayers’ money or operate more efficiently, it’s actions like these that often go unnoticed.

These are often small changes, born from someone recognizing a problem and thinking outside the box to come up with a solution.

But coming up with the idea is only the first part of the equation.

Someone in government must be willing to listen to the idea, research its feasibility, propose the solution to others, and convince other government board members to support it.

All of these ideas will not make a significant difference on their own.

But added up over time, these types of decisions can have a significant long-term impact on taxpayers and the public served by government commissions.

So what are we talking about?

Earlier this month, the Saratoga Springs City Council helped solve an issue the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority was having with keeping public authority-owned sidewalks free of snow and ice during the winter.

The problem, according to the council’s resolution, was that the Housing Authority could not find suppliers of salt willing to sell to the authority the relatively small quantities it needed to salt the public pavements under its jurisdiction.

The fix: The city – which of course buys tons of salt from a supplier – will sell the salt from its own salt pile to the Housing Authority at cost.

This will ensure that the authority has an adequate supply of salt to clean the sidewalks and that they are not forced to pay exorbitant prices for what they are able to buy.

City taxpayers do not absorb any additional costs. But they don’t make money from the sale of salt either. But taxpayers benefit as the Housing Authority sidewalks are cleared.

Simple and efficient.

The Housing Authority had a similar problem getting petrol from suppliers for the small number of vehicles it operates.

Again the city has agreed to sell the authority some of its surplus from the city’s gas pumps, again at cost to the housing authority, to ensure it can continue to operate their vehicles.

Who benefits from these small arrangements? Everyone in town. Who loses ? Nobody.

If the Housing Authority hadn’t been able to buy pavement salt, it might not have been able to maintain its pavements or would have had to pay a premium for the salt – taking money away to the services it provides.

Same thing with gasoline and its vehicles.

It’s the kind of win-win situation that can happen when people identify problems and government is open to creative solutions.

Every little gesture makes a difference.

More governments should think this way and explore the same kinds of solutions.

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion, Opinion

Ashley C. Reynolds