There are times when there is little merit to the argument about government needing to act like business.
Then, there’s the money-saving action taken last week by the La Crosse Common Council — a textbook example of how municipal government must reshape itself in this day of dwindling aid and increasing pressure on taxes.
As an organization, the city of La Crosse had 19 departments during a study conducted in 2014. That number was much higher than peer communities — and La Crosse taxpayers had the honor of paying for that bloated structure.
Since then, the city has clearly been working to find efficiencies and combine departments when possible to save money.
For instance, the city has already eliminated the Public Works Department by folding it into the Engineering Department.
Last week, the good work continued.
With the pending retirements of Human Resources Director Wendy Oestreich and Chief Assessor Mark Schlafer, the city looked at smart ways to streamline operations.
Best of all, city staff was asked to develop money-saving ideas — and they did.
The result is as leaner management structure that will save the city two positions and will save taxpayers $204,000 a year.
As Mayor Tim Kabat said: “It is the reality of what we face as a local government. We have to look at opportunities like these for streamlining and reducing.”
It’s not easy to combine positions and invest in technology to save on personnel and operational costs.
At times, it’s downright stressful.
But, the city of La Crosse is using the right approach by pushing for smarter answers that save money for our taxpayers.
The city staff and leadership should be commended for pushing for the right answers to improve operations and cut costs for the future.