Local governments are using the term "shared services" these days, but what does that mean? Essentially, it's collaborating with other governments to eliminate duplication and operate more efficiently.
During a series of community forums to obtain input into the Lake County Strategic Plan, residents identified the sharing of government services as a priority. As a result, the Lake County Collaborative Services Staff Committee was created to identify potential shared service opportunities internally with county departments and externally with other units of government. The Lake County Shared Services Initiative strives to collaborate and coordinate with other units of governments to generate greater economies of scale, foster partnerships and to reduce organizational costs.
The County worked jointly with other municipalities from the Southeast Lake County Shared Services Working Group to jointly bid out elevator inspection services. Eight communities participated in the bid to do a total of 1,603 inspections bi-annually. The bid was issued in November of 2013 and five vendors submitted proposals. Elevator Inspection Services was the selected vendor with an estimated annual savings of approximately $22,059. The working group continues to look for additional collaboration opportunities. The Metropolitan Planning Council featured this initiative on their blog in May 2014. Participating communities include: Village of Lake Bluff, Village of Buffalo Grove, City of Highland Park, Village of Lincolnshire, City of Lake Forest, Village of Bannockburn, Village of Deerfield, and Lake County.
During the winter of 2013-14, the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) and other local units of government experienced a high demand for road salt early in winter that made it challenging for salt companies to keep up with demand. LCDOT, the Purchasing Division, and the County Administrator's Office hosted an informational meeting with villages, townships, and cities in early 2014 and invited them to be part of a joint salt purchase. This resulted in 26 other units of government participating in this bid and purchasing 43,400 tons of salt. The contract provides pricing for the communities for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 snow seasons. Municipal Partnering Initiative (MPI) is also exploring using the Lake County bid template to issue its own joint bid opportunity.
Planning, Building & Development Plan Review Contracts
Lake County Planning, Building & Development (PBD) currently contracts with a number of municipalities for plan review and inspection shared services including: Indian Creek, Third Lake, and Lindenhurst.For some municipalities, PBD completes all inspections and plan reviews, while in others, PBD functions in a back-up capacity. In 2013, PBD entered into a pilot agreement with the Village of Round Lake Beach to perform inspection and plan review services for a period of six months. The pilot program was successful and in May 2014 the department entered into a full two year agreement to provide inspection and plan review services for the Village. In addition, PBD also entered into an agreement in march 2014 to provide full inspection and plan review services to the Village of Hainesville.
Lake County is also in the process of fully assessing its needs as it relates to the replacement of its current permitting and code enforcement software (Hansen Permitting and Code Enforcement Tracking Software). The County is reaching out to all municipalities for their involvement and feedback and is looking for opportunities for collaboration as part of this project.
Automated Meter Reading
The Lakes Region Sanitation District (LRSD) took advantages of pricing obtained by the County through joint purchasing language from a Lake County Public Works Department bid on Automated Meter Readers (AMR). The 6,640 LRSD customers currently pay a flat rate for sewer and the AMR will allow LRSD customers to be billed based upon the actual volume of sewage delivered into the County sewage system by identifying how much water is drawn from a customer's private well.
Mettawa Police Contract
The Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Village of Mettawa entered into a 10 year contract for police services. The Sheriff's Office will provide police responses to resident call-outs and requests for emergency law enforcement services and enforcement of state statutes and Village Ordinances.
Job Order Contracting
The Village of Libertyville utilized Lake County's bid for General Contractors for Job Order Contracting (JOC). Lake County awarded three general contractors under the JOC contract in May 2014 and included joint purchasing opportunities for other local governments. Local municipalities were introduced to the three general contractors, Homestead Electric Company, Paul Borg Construction Company and Leopardo Companies, Inc. at a meet and greet hosted by lake County Purchasing in June. It is estimated that utilizing the joint purchasing provision through JOC will save the Village of Libertyville and estimated 35 days of administrative staff time versus using the standard public bid process.
2015 Plan and Initiatives
The following Lake County contracts are expiring in 2015. Lake County will be sharing these opportunities with other entities:
- Temporary Employee Services
- Adult Residential "Co-Occurring Disorders" Treatment
- Email archiving solution
- Payroll cards
- Landline phone services
- Office furniture bid
- Temporary Nursing Employee Services
Lake County will explore partnerships with other County departments, communities and organizations for the following goals in 2015:
- Procurement Card Services
The current Lake County contract for procurement card services expires in July 2015. The existing contract provides shared services with the Lake County Forest Preserve. In developing the new RFP, the County will explore the possibility of including additional local units of government.
- Hydrant Painting
Lake County will review the specifications of the current painting bid to determine if a change in the frequency of repainting hydrants or the amount of coats applied is financially advantageous to explore. Doing so would allow the County to take advantage of existing pricing obtained by MPI.
- Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators (JULIE)
Currently, LCDOT contracts out JULIE services to USIC Locating Services and Lake County Public Works performs JULIE services in house. The County will examine the efficiencies and effectiveness of contracting out JULIE services to performing them in house.
- Expanded Elevator Inspection Services
Lake County will further evaluate opportunities for utilization of the elevator inspections contract with Planning, Building and Development.
- Stockpile Salt
In partnership with regional communities, the County will explore a regional location for a salt company to stockpile salt for participating communities. This will provide for a central storage location for local municipalities to store salt to reduce the issue in storage of overflow salt and delays in delivery during the peak winter season.
- Intergovernmental Collaboration
Lake County will continue to participate with external partners, such as MPI, Southeast Lake County Shared Services Group and others to identify other shared services opportunities.