Richmond city auditor: Consolidate grounds maintenance

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -A new plan that could save taxpayer money. The city auditor says he's found a way to combine services and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. The 33 page report is two years in the making.

In it, the city auditor suggests consolidating the maintenance duties of four Richmond departments. 16 days after taking office Mayor Dwight Jones gave city auditor Umesh Dalal full access to all city departments.

"It's good government. Good business," said Mayor Jones.

Dalal's first report under Jones looks to clean up the agencies in charge of landscaping the city. The audit recommends Richmond Public Schools and Richmond Public Utilities turn over their ground maintenance functions to the Department of Public Works.

"This is the first time that the city departments and school employees have come together and cooperated and improved service at a savings of over half a million dollars a year," said Umesh Dalal.

According to the report, public works is the most capable of handling maintenance jobs. And it found that public utilities' operations appear to be inefficient with each employee only handling about six acres.

A spokesperson for the mayor says he welcomes the report and any suggestions that could create greater efficiency at city hall. Adding that it's too soon to know what steps will be taken to reach the savings.

And it's not known Tuesday night if layoffs are also necessary. The report recommends that public works hire 23 seasonal workers to landscape and maintain the grounds. Those jobs will only be necessary for eight months out of the year.

If the recommendations are approved, the city auditor plans to follow up in two years to make sure they were correctly implemented.

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