A high-ranking city official nervously treks down to Ohio’s capital city. He passionately pleads his case in front of several dignified lawmakers.
The cliffhanger? He must now patiently wait as members of the 130th General Assembly contemplate his request.
So goes the story of Huron city manager Andy White, who recently traveled to Columbus in hopes of convincing state lawmakers to provide grant money for measuring government efficiency.
Coined House Bill 4, the bill White supports calls for the state to provide up to $10,000 once every two years for a political subdivision. A grant would help determine how diligent local governments are in spending taxpayer dollars.
• Requires the Local Government Innovation Council to award performance measurement grants.
• Representatives from a particular political subdivision can apply for up to $10,000 every two years.
White said lawmakers can fund the grants by shifting about $40 million stashed away in an account specifically for local government development.
For instance, the grants would collect data from Huron then be dumped into a state-supported software system. Huron’s data would then be analyzed and compared to nearby or similar-sized communities across Ohio.
Among the items in Huron that could be analyzed and compared with grant funds: health insurance rates; police and fire response times; pothole maintenance; residents’ overall satisfaction with city operations.
“It’s important for a guy like me to find out unit costs,” White said. “If someone is doing the same thing I do for cheaper, I want to find out how they’re doing it so I can save money and drive down costs to improve services.”
When the data comes back, White and city council would need to discuss how to enact a program to create a potential savings.
“The cost to implement something could be expensive,” White said.