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Located on the eastern edge of central Arizona’s Salt River Valley, the city of Tempe set its early roots as Fort McDowell in 1865. Canals carrying water from the Salt River made the valley attractive to farmers, and the abundance of produce led to the area’s status as a trade center.

Expansive green fields, a wide river and an adjacent mountain butte were reminiscent of the Vale of Tempe in ancient Greece, hence the city’s name. In 1887 the railroad linked Tempe to the rest of the nation, and in 1911 the Roosevelt Dam further accelerated growth. Farming gave way to other types of commerce, and today Tempe is Arizona’s 8th largest city.

The Challenge

Running a city the size of Tempe is no small feat. As costs grow, budgets shrink. Though operating expenses lack the glamour of acquiring shiny red fire trucks and cutting ribbons at new modern facilities, they do play an important role in supporting the community. Tempe city managers needed a way to reduce costs while maintaining services. They thought a careful review of utilities charges might present possibilities, but they were not willing to spend current operating funds to make it happen.

The Solution

The city brought in Cost Control Associates to examine all payments for electricity, telephone and cellular services. The goal was to go over past invoices with a fine-toothed comb, looking for billing errors or overpayments that might result in refunds, rebates or better rates. Tempe also wanted to establish benchmarks that would ease future budgeting activities and help them monitor costs.

Thanks to Cost Control’s efforts, the city realized more than $4,000 in refunds plus $46,000 in annual cost savings for future years. Most of the refunds and savings came from the telecom and cellular review.

Another benefit is that the city’s managers now know they are paying properly rated and calculated energy and telecom bills. This will make budgeting and cost review much easier as they move forward.

“The city’s time involvement was minimal, and that was important. The review was thorough and the results worthwhile. It was a pleasure to work with the professionals at Cost Control Associates.”

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