Bossier City council members learned today that the city’s partnership with Manchac Consulting Group to operate public utilities resulted in actual savings of more than $2.5 million in operating costs 2017, exceeding the budgeted savings of $2.1 million. The overall savings for the utility department exceeded $4.1 million
“We beat our expectations,” said Ben Rauschenbach, senior project manager with Manchac. “We’re in excess of about 400-plus thousand dollars this year, or we run about $35,000 to $36,000 in additional savings every month. That’s operating capital. So it’s good news.”
Councilman David Montgomery praised the reported savings, noting that the additional savings above budget paid for raises for public utility employees.
“Just in that additional savings that was recuperated, both on the efforts of Manchac as well as the employees of the water and sewer department they were able to cover the cost of their raises. Now that’s real business being applied to city government. My hat’s off to both to the employees of Bossier City, the administration as well as Manchac.”
The city saved $1.1 million in cost avoidance by doing some work internally instead of employing external contractors for the work, Rauschenbach reported. The city spent $1.9 million in emergency repairs, with a total savings of $487,774.82 through competitive bid savings and engineering and contraction administration savings. The total savings for the utility department — including operations, emergency work and cost avoidance — was more than $4.1 million.
Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker praised Rauschenbach and the city’s partnership with Manchac.
“I just want to compliment Ben himself for his hands-on involvement in these projects,” Walker said. “I think that goes a long way to making them as successful as they have been. But also how well he work with Pam (Glorioso, Bossier City Chief Administrative Officer). It’s an excellent team, and we appreciate the great work you do.”
In addition to the coast savings, the utility department as completed its 2018 operating and capital budgets and a five-year capital improvement plan for water and wastewater infrastructure. Job descriptions and risk management and emergency response plans also have been updated, and the environmental division has develop programs to reduce violations.
“We’re constantly trying to revise and improve all of the little systems that we have within the utility department to make it better,” Rauschenbach said.
Council members also heard from Kelly Wells with the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. He told the council this year’s state high school wrestling meet at the CenturyLink Center saw record crowds and brought $1 million in economic impact to the Bossier-Shreveport area. He added that the state wrestling tournament will return next year before being put up for bid again.
Wells also said the state archery tournament is returning, as well as several fishing tournaments on the Red River. And in 2019, the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 14 tournament will be at the Gold Dome in Shreveport.
The council delayed a vote on an ordinance for a Special Events Alcohol Permit that would allow vendors to sell open containers of alcohol in the Festival Plaza District. The council is expected to vote on that ordinance in two weeks at its next regular meeting.