Just like any private facility, government institutions need to maintain their equipment and essential infrastructure. However, economic downturn in the past several years has put a strain on what has become limited government resources. As a result, many municipalities and even state governments are struggling to reconcile their building maintenance and equipment purchasing needs with the realities of tighter purse strings.
Fortunately, despite budgets that may not be sufficient to meet all equipment and inventory management needs, there are other options that government facilities can explore to supplement their revenue. How have governments been affected by recent economic crises, and what recourse do such facilities have to overcome financial obstacles and meet maintenance needs?
Give your existing equipment many hats to wear
In the event that budgets simply don't allow for the purchase of new equipment, municipalities can start by evaluating the state of their current equipment and its capabilities, and cross-referencing that against the work that needs to be done. The Municipal suggested that equipment can even be shared among different municipalities. This of course requires administrators from nearby government districts to communicate, not only to determine what overlapping needs may exist, but also to determine a schedule for equipment sharing that can govern the efforts.
This helps both districts, offering one municipality access to essential equipment without having to provide purchasing cost, and lightening the preventive maintenance load on the lending government in the process.
Make purchasing a cooperative effort
Along a similar spirit of cooperation, The Municipal also pointed out that in districts where new equipment purchasing is essential, administrators can consider doing so through a purchasing cooperative. The U.S. General Services Administration highlighted its cooperative purchasing initiative, which allows any participating government, whether it be local, state or even tribal, to benefit from a collection of pre-vetted vendors. This initiative also covers what it refers to as Blanket Purchase Agreements, which allow for more efficient purchasing of essential infrastructure such as IT resources, hardware and software.
Long-term investing can help
When it comes to publicly funded facilities such as schools and health care centers, budget difficulties can be offset by a degree of foresight and clever and efficient long-term planning on the part of the urban planning teams. The Municipal outlined a strategy that may be unpopular due to the upfront spend involved, but can result in more overall revenue coming into a region. By investing in certain infrastructure - such as more residential development - governments can plant the seeds that will grow into future funding in the form of tax dollars. Beefing up residential properties in a district can result in more property tax, which is an essential component in the funding equation for public schools. Similarly, investing in commercial expansion can give a similar boost to municipal economies by bringing in new business. Not only can this add more money to the public coffers directly through increased retail patronage, but the taxes these new businesses provide can similarly provide a boost to the government spending pool.