City trims cellphone, printer use

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The city of Sioux Falls will save about $70,000 a year by scaling back on employee cellphones and eliminating 75 printers.

Sue Quanbeck Etten, director of Central Services, made the announcement during a news conference Friday, saying that the city began an analysis in July 2010 to find ways to become more efficient and cost effective.

All cellphones deemed nonessential were discontinued, and new voice plans were created, leading to an estimated annual savings of $46,000, she said.

The city also is working with Marco, a regional provider of printer and copier services, to study ways to consolidate printing resources. Quanbeck Etten estimates the city will save at least $1,900 a month by directing prints to a multifunction device, which costs less than half a penny per print. The city eliminated many laser printers, which cost 3 cents per page, and ink-jet printers, which cost 12-cents per page.

Mayor Mike Huether said his office was slated to have five printers for four people. That number was reduced to one.

“There’s a better, more effective way to utilize the taxpayer dollar,” he said. “When you spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year in Sioux Falls city government … ($70,000) doesn’t seem that large. But just because we have the dollars, doesn’t mean we have to spend it needlessly, and I think this is a very strong example of how city government is trying to become more prudent.”

Quanbeck Etten said the city also will default to two-sided printing or black-and-white printing when possible and plans to work with Marco to monitor use patterns for more cost savings.

All 12 city departments, along with the mayor’s office and clerk’s office, worked together to establish the cost savings, Quanbeck Etten said. The analysis began in the law enforcement center, where 35 printers were eventually eliminated.

Quanbeck Etten said the city will continue identifying areas to become more efficient through technology and automation, such as in public parking and in the parks department.

Doug Patrick, sales manager at Marco, said the company helps clients by enhancing technology and creating a cost savings and work-flow efficiency. Other Marco customers include Schwan’s, First Bank and Trust, Karl’s TV and Appliance and many regional hospitals, Patrick said.

Though Patrick said this type of cost-savings analysis is common in business, he added that he isn’t aware of any other regional city governments that have gone to the lengths the city of Sioux Falls has.

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