City leaders hope internal changes transform Aiken into more efficient municipality

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Internal transformation are happening behind the scenes, to make the City of Aiken a more efficient municipality.

City leaders have been evaluating the city’s current pension plan, consolidating departments and conducting audits, which are saving taxpayers lots of money.

“Our philosophy is that there’s always room for improvement,” said City Manager John Klimm.

Aiken Public Safety was the first department to undergo an operational audit, to figure out what was working and what was not.

“It came back with 92 recommendations,” Klimm told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The audit reveal there was a lot the city could improve on, including purchasing new equipment and implementing a crime-tracking database.

Mayor Rick Osbon says Public Safety’s audit was just the start.

“The ultimate goal is to be efficient as a city and to make sure we meet the needs of all of our residents,” said Osbon.

Klimm says Aiken didn’t have a solid purchasing department which was a misuse of taxpayer money.

However, the city hired a procurement manager to keep purchasing goods streamlined.

“So we are buying many more items in bulk, saving a lot of money for city operations.” Klimm said.

The biggest change city leaders are looking at making, is the pension plan for city workers.

Klimm says it’s the most generous he’s seen of any municipality and if it’s not revised, it’s going to consume a big chunk of the budget in years to come.

“If we don’t make a change we will be spending more and more of the tax dollar to pay for retires pensions, instead of using it for services and for public safety, and for infrastructure in the like.” Klimm told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The pension plan revisions are still in the works, but it would not impact present employees or public safety employees.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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