By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Residents with tax-related questions may soon be able to stop at one city office instead of three.
Mayor Joseph Peterson Monday proposed consolidating the Treasurer’s, City Assessor’s and Finance departments into one office and cross training employees of each department so they can answer questions related to the other two.
Peterson proposed the idea during a budget meeting with City Assessor Colleen Keehn Monday, in which Keehn, who has one employee, detailed how many questions meant for the treasurer’s office she received from residents while covering the deputy assessor’s shift at the reception desk recently.
The consolidation would free Keehn and other department heads from customer service-related tasks while also returning to their departments the four Finance Department employees and one Engineering Department employee who each spend one day working in the Treasurer’s Department, Peterson said.
“I believe we have people that can do some of the assessor’s work in the Finance Department,” Peterson said. “They are doing it now. We could put all the employees together and cross-train them. I think it’s time. We have to consolidate.”
Peterson said he had originally wanted to delay the consolidation until a planned 2012 move of City Hall to a city-owned building at 3200 Eureka, but consolidating now may help save money under the 2011-12 budget. The city currently has a $1.4 million budget shortfall.
“We can’t have the same amount of people doing the service,” Peterson said. “It’s just a matter of stop talking about doing it and let’s do it. It’s obvious the money problem isn’t going away, so we have to act now.”