By Rachel Dovey.

San Diego wants to cut some red tape — and it’s handing the scissors to city employees.

The city is launching a new academy to teach its workers how to slice costs and streamline operations while reducing the need for layoffs or cuts to essential services, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The launch comes at a critical time, because rising pension costs may mean a leaner city budget going forward.

The academy builds “on a 2015 program called San Diego Works, where more than 500 of the city’s 11,000 employees suggested streamlining and cost-cutting ideas that now save the city about $1.3 million per year,” according to the Union-Tribune.

Some examples of ideas put forward in 2015 include “revamping trash routes, using cheaper envelopes, shrinking overtime by shifting schedules for maintenance workers at city pools and reducing printing costs by using less blue ink on city stationery.” Overall, employees were encouraged to step away from the notion that a procedure should continue simply because that’s the way it had always been done.

Building on those ideas, the city’s Performance and Analytics Department has streamlined several services — it’s quickened the replacement of streetlight bulbs, improved the sorting of library materials and reduced the answering time for 911 calls by improving computer screen visibility for dispatch managers and re-routing non-emergency calls.

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Read the full story at Next City.