May & June 2013
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Member Survey Results

In response to member comments and requests, TMACOG recently distributed a survey to the entire TMACOG membership asking for their ideas about shared services. Forty-three members (out of 145 total membership) responded. Eighty-eight percent are elected or appointed officials. Most of the rest are other public employees. Respondents included counties, cities, villages, townships, and school districts. Fourteen provided contact information and expressed a desire to continue a TMACOG-facilitated process.

  • Do you currently share equipment or services?

More than 75 percent responded that they share equipment, services, or personnel. Shared services included water billing, zoning and building inspection, snow removal, dispatching, and various EMS services. Not a lot of equipment is shared but some leaf collection equipment and other apparatus is shared either formally or informally.

  • If you don't share equipment or services, why not? What would change your mind?

The reasons cited by communities include lack of equipment to share, politics, unions and contracts, questions of responsibility (who will fix broken equipment), and questions of how to allocate cost. Several responses indicate that they quickly share resources in emergencies and through mutual aid agreements but don’t have other formal arrangements.

  • Is there a service, or equipment, or personnel you’d like to share, either a service you need or some excess capacity that you could contribute?

Many communities responded that they have some heavy equipment that they would consider sharing. Web hosting and maintenance is one area where numbers saw potential for savings.

  • Would you be willing to participate in and contribute funding to a study of shared equipment and services in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan?

Fifty-eight percent of the respondents replied no, stating that they had no funds to allocate. Forty-two percent said yes or maybe depending on the cost and likely return on the investment.

  • What are your ideas for next steps that would lead to a practical, fair, implementation of the idea of shared services?

Suggestions include hiring a vendor to complete an inventory and study, or asking municipalities that are successfully partnering to describe how they work together. Some respondents are already working with the Port Authority or Ohio Development Services Agency to begin researching these issues.

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