Public Services & Infrastructure Goal 1
The Town will provide high quality, efficient and cost effective services to its residents and utility customers.
1.1 Identify Growth and Annexation Impacts on Services
STRATEGY: Evaluate all annexations and development proposals to ensure that current town service levels will not be negatively impacted by growth or annexation. Where potentially negative impacts are identified, require mitigation or develop expansion plans and identify funding to maintain current service levels.
JUSTIFICATION: Given the small size and limited resources of the town, new development of any size can have a significant impact on its ability to maintain current levels of service. Through the Adequate Public Facilities regulations, the town can analyze the effects of new development or annexation on its service levels and determine whether revenues from the proposed development, or any proffers made, will be sufficient to ensure a continuation of existing service levels.
1.2 Provide Internet Based Customer Service Tools
STRATEGY: Consider the implementation of additional internet-based customer service tools and resources to expand the availability of customer service options for residents and businesses that do not require paper based forms or a visit to town hall.
JUSTIFICATION: Expanding the types of internet based customer service tools that are offered by the town would allow residents to access these services during evening hours, on weekends, or during other times when town hall is not open for business. Making such tools available also reduces the need for customers to make trips to town hall to conduct routine business.
1.3 Develop Performance Dashboards
STRATEGY: Consider developing “dashboards” or similar information tools that can be made available on the Town’s website to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of Town services.
JUSTIFICATION: Performance dashboards are an effective tool to communicate the activity levels associated with town services and demonstrate the efficiency with which those services are being provided. By developing and promoting such tools, the town will be able to demonstrate, on an ongoing basis, the overall effectiveness of the services that it provides in relation to the taxes and fees that it collects to fund them.
1.4 Partner with Jefferson County to Expand Access to Services
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities to partner with Jefferson County to expand the availability of county services in the local area.
JUSTIFICATION: The distance between Shepherdstown and county offices in Charles Town can make it inconvenient for residents of Shepherdstown, and the northern section of the county as a whole, to access some government services. Making services available locally, if only on a part time basis, will help to improve the quality of life for residents in the area, allowing them to do county business or access services closer to home.
1.5 Town – University Public Service Partnerships
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities to partner with Shepherd University to achieve economies of scale through the joint provision of services in the community.
JUSTIFICATION: Whenever the town and the university are providing identical services there is an opportunity for the two entities to partner to provide the service together in a more cost effective and efficient manner. By jointly providing services, redundant overhead, capital and operating costs can be eliminated. Cost savings and improvements in efficiency can also be realized as the scale of the operation and customer base increases, thereby creating economies of scale, which tend to reduce costs.
1.6 Build Economies of Scale for Town Services
STRATEGY: Pursue growth and annexation opportunities that will help to build economies of scale for town services.
JUSTIFICATION: Embracing opportunities for growth, whether through new development or annexation, will be the most effective way to increase the financial efficiency of providing services to residents. The limited population base receiving services from the town increases the proportional share of costs borne by each resident who pays taxes or fees for that service. This is particularly true with respect to the fixed costs associated with providing a particular service, but even use dependent costs can be proportionally more expensive per resident when spread among a small population. By expanding the number of customers who receive town services, the town should ultimately be able to realize the financial efficiencies associated with the economies of scale that are created by serving a larger customer base.