Starting before the economic downturn, the Town of Yarmouth's Finance divisions have seen a 20% overall reduction in staffing. We were able to absorb this loss by working smarter, streamlining operations wherever possible, making use of automation tools and through the use of volunteers, interns and outsourcing/contract services where appropriate. Moving forward, our efforts to continue improving efficiency will not waver.
The Assessing Division in particular has streamlined its operations to the point where we can now use existing staff to manage the cyclical inspection program. We did evaluate continuing to outsource this work and reducing paid staff even further, but the problem with that approach was ensuring that the office would be sufficiently covered during times when traffic at our counter is exceptionally heavy (first issuing of real estate tax and motor vehicle excise tax bills, abatement and exemption filing periods, etc.).
Since our ability to hire supplemental staff possessing the requisite training and experience with Town systems for just those peak times of the year is limited, the solution was to reduce the cost related to contract services in order to continue to provide the excellent level of service our customers expect.