Bayside aggressively pursues performance measurement and benchmarks to identify successes and areas of opportunity. In 2010, the Village looked at the possibility of making a wholesale change of garbage and recycling services. While the collection of garbage and recycling may seem like a task that is undertaken everyday around the country, the method by which the service was provided in the Village of Bayside makes the shift in delivery a much larger task, and caused for innovative, strategic thinking to ensure a proper transition.
For several years, the Village provided garbage and recycling collection through an up-the-drive process. To accomplish this feat, the Village operated three or four wheeled Cushman vehicles (Bayside is one of just three communities licensed to operate the vehicles on roads). While the task of collecting garbage up-the-drive seems menial, it involves a great amount of time, labor, and resources to complete this work each week, for over 1,600 residences.
Obviously, this strenuous activity led to several shoulder, back and knee injuries, increasing the Village’s workman’s compensation claims. To say the least, this process was tedious, physically strenuous, and possibly dangerous to one’s overall health. In addition, as the picture to the left shows, the vehicles themselves could prove dangerous when overfilled and operated incorrectly.
To help address concerns, the Village decided to conduct several forms of analysis to determine the best option for moving progressively in the future. One important factor was the Village’s participation in ICMA’s Performance Measurement program, tracking specific strategic numbers to improve overall efficiency. Part of this program benchmarks the number of hours the Village’s Department of Public Works (now Department of Community & Utility Services (DCUS)) spends annually on collection-oriented services (garbage, recycling and yard waste). The initial results showed that DCUS spent a large portion of its overall work time on collections. As a result, crews had little time left over to spend on infrastructure maintenance on Village-owned vehicles, machinery and roadways.
The Village revised, reprioritized and placed new emphasis on the work allocation of the Department and its operations. It took a major effort to refocus the staff on the new collections efficiency model, then communicate that refocused effort to residents on how to comply with the changes and actually get their garbage, recyclables and yard waste out on the appropriate days.