Budget Box : Seeking Innovation

By Shari Haldeman - sharih@landings.org  
General Manager/COO  

“That’s how we’ve always done it” is not an acceptable approach to staff operations at The Landings Association. Our team is constantly challenged to question why we handle a job or task the way we do, and ask “What if…?” When researching replacements for Landings Association assets, or working to improve processes, staff use a variety of methods to seek better and more innovative approaches to operations. From benchmarking against other property owner associations, to attending trade shows and meeting with vendors, to negotiating test periods for equipment, TLA staff always strive to manage efficiency and effectiveness with the best pricing. Below are some recent examples of the results from this approach.

  • Staff recently developed an improved jetting program for cleaning storm drains, which creates cost savings for the replacement of the department’s current jetter machine. The new cleaning system can be placed on a trailer, works at high pressures, and will allow staff to reach tighter spaces than our current truck (which has a replacement cost of $350,000) and is much more cost effective. This change will result in a capital cost savings of approximately $150,000.
  • During the 2020 Ravo Sweeper Unit bid process, Southern Vac offered the Association $26,000 to trade in the 2014 TYMCO Sweeper. Staff believed that the TYMCO unit was worth more than what Southern Vac offered to pay for it, so our team decided to list the unit on an online auction marketplace platform. Several individuals bid on the unit, with a final sale of $50,000. Staff just recently placed the current Jetter Truck online as well and hope to sell the unit by the end of the year/beginning of next year. 
  • To prevent increases to our Georgia Natural Gas accounts next year, staff negotiated with Georgia Natural Gas representatives and obtained a commercial 12-month fixed rate, with a $0.14 per therm discount for all 10 accounts.

  • During the recent, annual dredging of Landings Harbor Marina’s basin, staff explored alternative methods to disposing of the dredged materials vs. our spoils ponds, which now are nearing capacity. As a test during the final days of dredging, a small amount of material was pumped into a geotextile bag set up in the north area of the Landings Harbor Picnic Grounds. The bag will remain onsite and allowed to dry before being opened. Once opened, the dry material will be excavated from the tube. Geotextile bags have successfully been used throughout The Landings for lagoon and pond maintenance. Future use of geotextile bags to maintain the harbor depth will be considered as our team evaluates the cost and benefit of this approach.