Since Inyo officials approved some $2 million in wage hikes that they can’t pay for next fiscal year, they are involved in what they call Service Redesign to save money and increase revenue. Consultant Frank Benest has led teams of department heads and officials from Inyo County, Mono County, City of Bishop, BLM, and the Forest Service through workshops.
Tuesday, team leaders reported to the Board of Supervisors on some of their ideas. Pam Hennarty described potential cutbacks in landfill days with more recycling and some fee changes as an example. She also said the transfer of equipment operators at the dumps to Public Works would save a lot of money. Said Hennarty, “We would like to use the money on more fun services and get out of hot water with the State on recycling.”
Probation Officer Jeff Thomson said his team looked at collaborating on courier services, grant writing and fiscal and administrative services with potential savings of $50,000. The Criminal Justice Team was more about avoiding future costs as an increased number of inmates come to the jail from state law changes. Potential solutions include alternative custody programs, treatment programs, and rehabilitation programs. Sheriff Bill Lutze said the jail population is high and there are segregation issues.
The Human Services Team looked at relieving a deputy position in the Public Guardian Department for a potential savings of $80,000. The Contracting Services Team looked at mutli-agency purchasing and service sharing for potential savings of more than $50,000.
Although the Bishop City Council has decided not to contract with Inyo for law enforcement at this time, there is apparently still the possibility of a dispatch services contract.
County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said that with the action plans proposed, so far there is a potential for $1 million in savings on the table. He said the Service Redesign process is a “mindset shift of the departments going forward.” Sharing of services and employees is a big part of currently proposed plans.
The seven teams working on plans will solidify options for the Board of Supervisors, apparently in May. Board members were supportive of the efforts but did point to real consequences next year if savings are not made.