City combining utility administrative functions saving money

Nov 18, 2014

Credit Sarah Ramsey

So far the city is saving money by merging the administrative functions of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, the Metropolitan Sewer District and the stormwater utility.  

A council committee got an update Tuesday.  

The savings right now is projected to be $55 million during the next decade.  That is less than the initial feasibility study suggested, but officials are still crunching the numbers.  

Director Tony Parrott said so far, so good.

“The shared services initiative is on track for success,” Parrott said.  “The areas outlined are functional areas that have been integrated.  We’re working right now looking at upcoming integration of fleet management, operations and security.”

Most of savings so far has come through attrition; by not filing vacant positions or replacing people who retire.  

Day to day operations of the three utilities remain the same, just some back office functions have been combined.  

Council Member Wendell Young helped guide the merger effort through Council in 2011.

“In the relatively short period of time that we’ve had to look at this, we’re already realizing a savings of $55 million, we’re on track to save even more,” Young said.  “I think over the 10 year life of this experiment, we’re on track to actually meet and/or exceed the projections.  I think that’s really important.”

Young said the combination of administrative functions for the three utilities is an example of shared services actually being implemented instead of just talked about.