Beyond Borders: How U.S. Cities and Counties Solve Shared Challenges

BeyondBorders-1-231284-edited.jpgWhen cities and counties coordinate and utilize shared services, they can reduce costs, improve service delivery and maintain existing services.

For example, in 2014 Ohio cities Parma, Parma Heights and Brooklyn were looking to share a regional dispatch center. This proposed collaboration resulted from state budget cuts for local governments of $900 million in the past four years.

One year later, the cities were approved to move forward with the project and are expected to save funds for involved cities and residents by reducing overall service costs.

Let’s take a look at how other cities and counties can benefit from cost-sharing through shared service programs and how open data will play a vital role.

Benefits of Cost-Sharing

Many municipalities or counties take part in cost-sharing through shared service programs often due to lack of funding or resources. Take the time as a city or county to look beyond individual borders and seek opportunities for collaboration and improvement.

Some benefits your municipality can receive from participating from cost-sharing, include:

  • Increase effectiveness and efficiency of services. Cities and counties can work together to divide time and resources spent on services to deliver better quality services and maximize productivity.
  • Share knowledge, ideas and talent to better deliver existing services. Take the chance to utilize expertise from surrounding cities. For example, if a partnering city has previously fixed issues, such as traffic congestion or littering, working together can help cross-pollinate ideas and improve these processes and solutions.
  • Reduce costs needed to execute services. Cities and counties can decrease the amount of money spent on different issues individually by combining funds and negotiating product and service rates as a region.
  • Boost economic development. When additional funds are saved, money can be reallocated to other areas that may have gotten less attention previously. Further, cities can keep more dollars within their region and strengthen local economies.

Overall, communities are looking to each other in hopes to pursue and accomplish similar goals.

How Open Data Will Come Into Play

With open data, cities and counties will have a better grasp as to how they can improve their communities for their citizens and economy. This information will be formatted into machine-readable data, increasing transparency and usability. Datasets will provide increased insight to common challenges, such as:

  • Lack of fund allocation information
  • Insufficient local transportation
  • Damaged or lacking regional infrastructure
  • Traffic congestion

Access this type of data will allow neighboring communities to obtain a window into each other’s pocketbooks and better coordinate and share resources to achieve common goals.

Interested in learning more on how open data will impact your city or county? Download our ebook, The Path to Open Data.

The Path to Open Data

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