“Local governments struggle all the time with an increased demand for services, but less resources. So we have to be creative and we have to be problem solvers,” states Montrose City Manager Bill Bell as he outline the premise for developing intergovernmental agreements (IGA) for shared services.
A successful effort at shared services is built around the City of Montrose providing information technology (IT) support for regional municipalities. Ouray, Telluride, Mountain Village, Ridgway, Delta, and Ouray County have agreements for IT services with Montrose.
Bell said the partnerships are working well “because we have great relationships with our neighbors, we’re always able to work through the hiccups and the struggles and get a good product at the end.” Bell noted that during the recent economic downturn, the shared services agreements allowed the city to maintain its employment base while at the same time providing the other entities a way to save money for IT services.
The level of IT services provided to other jurisdictions vary and Montrose has signed individual IGAs with each entity. Montrose IT Manager Jeff Scheetz said for the parks and recreation district, network, server, and desktop support is provided. Similar services are provided to the City of Delta. Other municipalities are served on an as-needed basis with IT support requests handled through a priority system.
The agreements give other municipalities access to a full service IT department without shouldering the full cost of creating a department on their own. In fact, they get to tap into an award-winning department. Montrose IT was recognized by the Colorado Information Management Association for its quality and innovation. The IT department received the “Team of the Year” award in 2015 for its creation of interactive monitors and other IT support for the new Montrose Visitor Center.
Bell said intergovernmental agreements are always a work in progress: “The intent of the agreement might shift a little bit…or expectations on both sides might shift a little bit … and you just work through the bugs and come out with a good product in the end.”
Read the IGA with Delta and with the recreation district, and watch a video that features this agreement among other shared services.