In an effort to cut operating costs, the New Mexico Department of Information Technology (DoIT) has employed one of the most basic strategies: negotiation. By renegotiating contracts with technology suppliers, state officials said, DoIT has been able to lower operating costs and save $3.5 million. That savings allows DoIT to give state agencies a 7 percent discount on IT and communication services for fiscal 2011, Gov. Bill Richardson announced this week.

“We are always looking at ways to provide an excellent level of service to our customers at competitive costs,” said DoIT Cabinet Secretary Marlin Mackey in a statement. “And we will continue to evaluate every opportunity to save agencies and thereby taxpayers as much money as possible.”

The savings will vary for each agency, according to DoIT, which provides information systems, communications and two-way radio services to government agencies: The Human Services Department will realize savings of $1.1 million; the Department of Health will save $330,000; the Taxation and Revenue Department will save $250,000; and Children Youth and Families will save $200,000.

This is the second year that the savings strategy paid off for state agencies. In 2009, DoIT consolidated wireless phones and renegotiated conference calling, long-distance and toll-free services and saved $3.4 million.

“While the country’s and state’s economic downturn has forced state agencies to make difficult decisions regarding their budgets,” Richardson said in a statement, “I applaud DoIT Cabinet Secretary Marlin Mackey for finding ways to consolidate services, reduce expenses and save government agencies millions of dollars.”