HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Henrico County is changing the way it does business and in doing so, has saved almost $60 million. Tuesday night county leaders will take a look at the bigger picture and everything they've been able to accomplish in a tough economy.
What do you do if you see a loss of almost $100 million in less than five years? Well, if you're Henrico County, you change the government culture and save $56.5 million.
"We're looking at virtually everything we do," explained County Manager Virgil Hazelett. "How can we do it different? How can we save money?"
Department heads took Hazelett's call to action seriously. They looked at the big items and eliminated vacant positions, which saved several million dollars. Then, they put even the smallest of expenses under a microscope.
"Not that one day, not that one month but when you change that over 12 months, over 24 months, over 36 months, it makes a difference," Hazelett said.
Bulbs in traffic lights used to be incandescent but the county figured out it could save about $100,000 simply by switching to LEDs. Double-sided copies mean less paper; networking printers leads to fewer toner cartridges and conference calls instead of in-person meetings reduces gas costs.
The school system also took on many of those same savings. One example is putting off the purchase of textbooks, opting instead for digital platforms.
For Superintendent Pat Russo, it was all about priorities.
"Instructional programs were not on the table," he told us. "We made the decision that all of our instructional programs or most would stay intact and they have."
The county will go over all of the measures at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m.