Saving City Jobs And Dollars
City of Jackson faced a number of serious budget shortfalls and feared this would leave to personnel layoffs. They engaged GovEx to help the city better understand the nature of its budgetary situation and how to address it.
GovEx conducted an analysis of 286 mid-sized US cities, identifying a cluster of five cities with which Jackson is most mathematically similar. We collected, normalized, analyzed, and visualized budget and personnel data from this cohort of cities. The result revealed insights about where Jackson could find operational efficiencies in its budget.
Jackson was able to cut its budget by over 7%, as a result of the analysis GovEx conducted. The city went from a $14 million deficit in 2014 to a $6 million surplus in 2017 and was able to create a new reserve fund.
Although we discovered Jackson spent more per capita than four out of five its “sister” cities, personnel was not the major driving of higher spending as had been thought. In fact, Jackson had a smaller and less expensive workforce than most of its peers. The real cost driver was operations, particularly in public works (including water/sewer, streets, facilities). Jackson’s spending on water and sewer alone totaled more than the total public works spending of all its peer cities considered in the analysis, in some cases by as much as eight times. This information helped the city cut back on public works contracts — critically enabling it to maintain its existing workforce.