Colorado in Focus: Here’s How Denver City Agencies Sped up Service, Reduced Wait Times and Saved Taxpayers Money

Denver Post: Here’s how Denver city agencies sped up service, reduced wait times and saved taxpayers money

The painstaking work of speeding up Denver’s government service — whether cutting waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles, adopting pets from the animal shelter more quickly or processing food-assistance applications sooner — is about as unsexy as it gets.

Employees spend hours brainstorming ways to cut down on paperwork.

They run simulations to streamline how they push that paper around the office and enter information into computers.

And they figure out how to untangle the convoluted ways government often does things.

Are you still here? Consider this: These seemingly tedious exercises, run by a city program responsible for making government more efficient, have helped the city’s business licensing counter cut average waits from an hour and 45 minutes — and 3 hours at peak times — to less than 20 minutes. The city’s human resources staff fills open positions citywide in 45 days on average, nearly twice as fast as it used to, while the wait to register a vehicle at the DMV is 20 minutes on average, down from 80 minutes several years ago.

Starting this fall, a new law requires Colorado schools to discuss alternatives to college as part of a student’s academic and career planning.

“The original idea was to bring shop class, metals, drafting, that sort of thing back to junior highs and high schools,” sponsor State Rep. Phil Covarrubias, R-Brighton, told Anne Trujillo on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged. “As we were working on the bill and whittling down on it, we realized Colorado has a lot of opportunity already, so the issue was, ‘Is there a disconnect?’”

Covarrubias said House Bill 1041 was designed to direct students and give them the opportunity to look options like the trades and military training.

“Electricians, dry wallers, excavators, movers, everything in the construction industry — we’re down about 60,000 in the state of Colorado and more nationwide,” Covarrubias said.

A new charter school is opening this fall, and several others in the Pikes Peak region are completing expansions or renovations.

Colorado Military Academy, the state’s first K-8 military-style school, at 360 Command View Drive, will hold a grand opening at 6 p.m. Thursday with state Sen. Owen Hill as one of the guest speakers. The Air Force Academy band will start playing at 5:30 p.m.

School starts Aug. 28 for kindergarten, first- and second-graders, and Aug. 29 for grades three through eight.

“Everywhere I go, I hear such excitement about this, from local elected representatives, the education community, the military community,” said Executive Director Reggie Ash, a retired Air Force colonel. “We’re doing something that’s really revolutionary and needed.”

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