City workers make some money by saving money |

City workers make some money by saving money

Staffers at Aspen’s City Hall got a little surprise last week – a check for up to $250 in gratitude for their thrifty ways.

The 188 checks were issued as part of an incentives program thought up by the city’s “Dream Team,” a group of city employees who get together periodically to think up ways to save money in everything from purchasing methods to employee efficiency.

According to City Finance Director Tabatha Miller, the incentive program asked all city departments to do their best to cut costs over the course of the past budget year. If the savings came to $400,000 or more, the city would issue bonuses totaling 10 percent of the savings.

Miller said the city saved $443,000 on its 1998 budget of more than $44 million. Among the highest departmental savings, she said, was a total of about $70,000 posted by her department.

“I’m cheap,” she quipped Friday. “My budget director would tell you it was from the time I made them camp out at a conference we went to.”

Other significant savings were made by the Aspen Police Department (approximately $50,000) and the streets department (around $100,000). Miller said some of the savings were due to personnel cutbacks, and some were from defrayed expenditures.

Although many employees received checks for $250, Miller said, seasonal and part-time employees received less.

Next year’s incentive program will have a higher target than $400,000, she said, although that target has not yet been set.

“We want to encourage our employees to be as efficient as they can and cut costs where they can,” she said.

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