Competition brings lower prices, and the pennies saved add up — that is the approach the Northfield City Council is taking for the upcoming year.

New council President Lisa Brown said the governing body has already saved about $6,000 by bringing in a new engineer and solicitor.

In addition, many of the services and vendors bid with lower rates than last year, including vendors who have been serving the city for years, Brown said. The response to bid requests has been huge, she said.

“Everyone understands the fiscal climate we are living in right now, and municipalities have a duty to help ease the tax burden of it’s residents,” she said. “We manage to save a little here, tighten belts a little there, and it all adds up.”

In addition, the council’s majority party has changed, which has set a different tone, said Councilman Frank Perri. “For the first time ever the New Republican Party was appointed council president,” but it has not been made a big deal of, he said.

The effects of this change in dynamic include Perri’s appointment to the Planning Board, which he said is the first time in 21 years a Democrat has been selected to the board and asked for an opinion on policies and procedures.

“It’s a historic event. It has been a good 40 to 50 years since someone ran outside of the Republican party,” Perri said. “The new union has brought out a lot of change.”

Other council changes include adopting Robert’s Rules of Order, Perri said.

He added that the council will do an in-depth review of the total operating budget and actual structure of all departments. It has looked at other ways of purchasing for capital expenditures, and is trying to find a way to consolidate jobs. It will consider how professionals are hired.

Another area of the budget receiving scrutiny is subcontracting, Perri said. The council will look into “trying to do stuff within house instead of subcontracting, or getting quotes to see if is cheaper to do it outside.”

Perri said the changes are definitely good for the city and council will continue trying to find more savings.

Contact Anjalee Khemlani:

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