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Mayors, Service Directors Meeting in Stow to Discuss Shared Equipment

Mayor Sara Drew said officials will talk about sharing pieces of equipment to use intermittently instead of each city purchasing an expensive tool.

Nearby cities already work together and share services, especially when it comes to large fires or police chases through several communities.

But, a group of city officials from Summit and Portage County are gathering at  to talk about the possibility of sharing expensive service equipment. A concept that Mayor Sara Drew says is unprecedented for this area. 

"Service departments have not been a place of mutual aid in the past," she said.

Stow is playing host for the second regional meeting Thursday afternoon and officials from 12 communities, including Streetsboro, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, Twinsburg and more will be present to talk about how each city's service department could provide assistance across city lines. Streetsboro hosted the first joint meeting. 

"It is my belief that the days of standing alone have gone by the wayside," said Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska in a Gateway News story. "We must make a commitment to continue to search for the answers that will help us better the communities in which we work and live."

Drew explained the assitance would be through capital expenditure items and not through shared employee services. 

While talks are still preliminary, Drew said she is interested in creating a data base to see what items the group has in stock, so each city could borrow a piece of equipment, instead of purchasing one for a lot of money. 

For example, a DuraPatcher (for road repairs) could cost upwards of $20,000 and may already be owned by a nearby city.

Of course, liability could become an issue in borrowing expensive machinery, but Drew said before anything is final, legal terms would need to be agreed on. 

The goal, she said, is to save as much money as possible while still retaining autonomy and the level of services Stow residents are used to right now. 

"Sharing a big piece of equipment only makes sense," Drew said. "But, we'll be mindful to not get to the point that we're short-changing citizens, we'll maintain our level of service."

Editor's note: This story is shared on the StowCuyahoga Falls, Kent and Twinsburg Patch sites. 

Amanda Harnocz April 12, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Do you think sharing equipment with neighboring communities is a good idea?
Mike Sheehan April 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I believe so. You have equipment that is essential to have on hand but is only used a few times a year. There could be a great savings.
Earl Elevant April 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Let's get rid of the mayors and service directors and just share one. That would save a lot of money.
joe ponikarovsky April 12, 2012 at 07:07 PM
makes good sense. i'm not going to go buy a power washer, roto-tiller or steam cleaner when i only need it once a year or so. i'll go rent one. why shouldn't cities do the same, if they can? question is: would each city be borrowing or renting from others? renting is more beneficial to the owner, because they can then recoup some of the cost of ownership, keep up with maintenance, insurance, etc. that costs the renter money, of course, but if they also have income coming in from renting out equipment, plus with the added benefit of not paying to own superfluous equipment, this could still be more cost-effective than owning equipment outright.
Jack Kelly April 12, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Yes. This is something ALL localities are going to have to seriously consider; going in on the expenses and maintenance of expensive equipment. I know some people think 'regionalism" is a bad word, but with the amount of $$ the cities are receiving all so our governor can brag he was able to balance the budget (which he is legally required to do, which makes the bragging point moot) 'without raising taxes'...at least on a state level. Next should be communications' systems. How much could cities save if the entire county got on ONE cell phone plan, ONE landline phone carrier, etc. The county could use that as a significant bargaining chip to get the best rates possible.

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