Monday, September 22, 2008

County plan can save $2M

County plan can save $2M


St. Johns County commissioners expect to save nearly $2 million this year after rebidding contracts and renegotiating property agreements.

Officials earlier this week saved more than $500,000 by rebidding property and casualty insurance contracts. It's a savings they expect to see continue as more contracts are re-evaluated.

"We purchase around $30 million in third-party services. ... Some of the contracts haven't been rebid in as much as 20 years," Commission Chairman Tom Manuel said Wednesday. "With today's market conditions, people are very competitive for business."

The insurance rebids, which drew 16 responses, saved the county $532,000, County Administrator Michael Wanchick said.

"It only makes sense every few years to go out to the market to see if you can get a better deal," Manuel said.

Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson credited Manuel with the rebidding initiative, saying it was essential to closing the budget gap.

Commissioners went over the savings at Tuesday evening's budget discussion.

About $160,000 was saved on workman's compensation. By outsourcing some of the county's mowing maintenance, officials expect to save $120,000. In addition, outsourcing cuts out the cost of benefits that would have to be paid to employees. The county's "hiring chill" continues, and nearly 100 positions have been eliminated.

"People are sharpening their pencils. People who historically were not interested are bidding (for jobs and contracts)," Manuel said, noting the savings are an "on-going effort."

The effort included two land-related items.

One with World Commerce Center involved a new appraisal based on current market value.

"That lowered what the county was obligated to pay them," Wanchick said, noting the original sum was over $1 million. Several other items were included in the negotiation, and the county also got land needed for Country Road 2209.

The second land item included extending by a year a concurrency agreement with a group of State Road 207 corridor developers. The extension fee of $671,000 allowed the developers to maintain their concurrency on the road for an additional year and needed money in the county's coffers. Originally 14 developments were planned for SR 207; only 12 of the developers are involved in the new agreement.

"The fee keeps the concurrency alive. It's coming due again in a couple of months," said Darrell Locklear, assistant county administrator.


Property and casualty insurance $532,000

Workman's compensation $160,000

Outsourcing mowing $120,000

State Road 207 concurrency $671,000

World Commerce Center $700,000

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