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PILOT PROGRAM SAVES MONEY, IMPROVES SERVICES, COOPERATION

A pilot program implementing performance-based government in two parts of Chautauqua County's Department of Public Facilities has led to a cost savings and improved services.

Department Director Kenneth Brentley reported to the county Legislature's Public Facilities Committee on Tuesday on the Comprehensive Performance Partnership, which has involved the Transportation and Engineering divisions the past three years.

Brentley pointed out there have been numerous accomplishments related to the partnership.

"Anywhere from developing a new road rating system, improving shared services with other municipalities," he noted, adding that in the future the department will be establishing "a new purchasing team where we involve more of the operators. There used to be one or two people making the purchases in the past."

The program's highlights include:

An agreement with Falconer's Public Works Department where the village helps with some cleaning and maintenance of county-owned roads and the department's maintenance shop yard. The county, in return, has helped Falconer with street paving. The move, according to department officials, has saved the county more than $300,000 and the village more than $400,000.

An agreement with the Towns of Stockton, Charlotte and Hanover, and the Village of Silver Creek, allows the county to keep its snow-fighting equipment and store road salt at those municipalities' facilities. Many are close to county plow operators' homes, allowing for quicker response to changing road conditions.

Established snow removal teams, which allows employees to have the freedom to change or tailor their road salt application, and come to work on their own if they determine dangerous road conditions exist in their area.

Creation of a road maintenance rating system, which has improved capital and maintenance planning and budgeting. The new system determines a cost-per-mile expense that all New York counties must adhere to in the next three years.

County Executive Mark Thomas said: "The ability of any organization to improve its performance is dependent on the people doing the work. I commend DPF Director Ken Rentley and his staff for dramatically improving their department's performance."

The committee also approved applying for a $100,000 state grant for the Parks Department.

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