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Just Like a Road, Local Government is Built from the Ground Up


Sometimes you just need to step back and take a hard look at things. It is pretty easy to get caught up in the “we’ve always done it that way” or, even worse, “that’s just the way it’s always been” way of thinking. Perhaps a fresh approach to the situation is in order. If you have a road that continually breaks up, potholes badly, or turns to Jello in the spring, then this might be a good time to look deeper into the situation with some possible ways to correct it for the long term. This can apply to your municipal operation as a whole too. You have to ask yourself if things are really running as efficiently as they should.


Municipalities have to be realistic. After all, not everyone has in-house engineers, attorneys, human resources, or deep pockets,. That’s why it’s important to find manageable, cost-effective alternatives to achieve the best results. Unfortunately, what often happens is that we place a Band-Aid on a wound that really needs stitches. A load of gravel on a soft spot of the road may temporarily help the problem, but unless you correct the under-drainage I can guarantee it will return. The same scenario applies to the operation of your municipality, you can quickly fill a vacant managerial position, but did you get the best candidate? The Band-Aid choice is easy, but you haven't permanently corrected the situation.


As you may have read before in my blogs, one of my common refrains is: “If you don't have a base, you don't have a road.” What I mean by that is good roads and good government are both built from the ground up, just not on the surface. For road improvements, you need ditches that are opened and flowing as they should. Old pipes should be replaced and, if need be, new pipes should be added to help the drainage. Perhaps some may need to be increased in size. Exceptionally soft spots should be excavated and good gravel compacted into the area. These key improvements will result in a dramatic difference in your road's stability.


For the municipal government itself, you'll need to improve the flow of communication by opening it up and adding more options to improve and maintain it. Those who can't handle the new flow of information may need to be replaced, or maybe they need additional help in their department to make that change. Correcting the soft spots amongst the team and replacing them with solid employees can make a dramatic difference in the operation and improve its stability, just like a poorly maintained road that's been improved.


The question is: How do you get the biggest bang for your buck? Recognizing a problem early and then bringing in professionals to quickly solve the problem is your most cost-effective option. The team at Keystone Municipal Solutions is comprised of seasoned professionals who stand ready to tackle the toughest of challenges for your municipal needs.


Just like Mother Nature, the constituents of your municipality can be demanding. Not only do they want good, well-maintained roads, but they also deserve a well-run government operation overall. Take the steps now to improve both by contacting KMS. Your service to the public can be significantly improved; just don't ask us to install a drainage pipe for you. So, let’s “fire this thing up!" We're making some improvements today!

 

About the Author

David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 32 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at david@keystonemunicipalsolutions.com. To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.

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