Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai departments aim to save time, money

The city’s “Efficiencies Report” details specific plans from each department on how they saved either time or money.

The City of Kenai plans to be more efficient next year by about 934 hours. That’s according to the city’s “Efficiencies Report,” which details specific plans from each department outlining how they saved either time or money the previous year and whether or not those strategies can be carried forward.

It’s an initiative Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander said he brought over from when he worked at the borough, as Mike Navarre’s chief of staff.

“It’s a good way to make sure that department heads keep efficiency in the forefront of their mind at all times,” Ostrander said. “I think a governmental entity that’s always looking at the way that they do things and questioning how they do things, and never falling for the ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ mantra — I think that’s important.”

Efforts to improve efficiency varied by department: the Kenai Police Department began e-filing criminal charges with the Alaska Court System instead of distributing them on paper; the Kenai Fire Department moved personnel training in-house; and the legal department canceled duplicate subscriptions, among other measures.

Across all departments, the city estimates they saved just over $107,000, including more than $80,000 in annual savings and about $25,000 in one-time savings.

The largest financial gain came from the replacement of wasting pumps with ones that were more efficient at Kenai’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. The city estimates that the replacement will save them about $55,000 per year.

Also detailed in the report is the amount of hours each department shaved off their operations. The largest reduction came from the Finance Department, where they estimate that replacing paper timesheets for employees with electronic ones will save staff 572 hours of labor annually.

In all, the city estimates it will save 934 hours of labor — roughly 39 days’ worth — as a result of the changes made last year.

The city’s full efficiencies report can be found on the City of Kenai’s website at www.kenai.city.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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