Cities aim for savings through shared services

The city councils of Rochester Hills, Rochester and Auburn Hills have agreed to enter into collaboration for public works services when assistance is requested by one city and one or both of the other cities are in a position to provide help.

Public works focuses on maintaining and building the public infrastructure, typically roads, pathways, street lighting, parks and grounds, facilities, water, sewer, storm drain systems and fleet services. Under an interlocal agreement, service requests may include personnel, equipment, facilities, materials and any other resources available that are common to public works operations. Ron Melchert, Auburn Hills Director of Public Services, says the agreement make sense for a variety of reasons.

“Each community has specific areas of expertise, specialized skills, knowledge, equipment and tools that are difficult to obtain from other service providers to perform economically, properly and in a timely manner,” Melchert said.

Bill Bohlen, Director of Public Works for the City of Rochester, notes that all three cities have a strong emphasis on training.

“This Interlocal agreement brings together three city departments that all place a premium on training, education and safety. Each community meets or exceeds specific federal, state and local laws and standards to ensure the public’s safety and welfare,” he said. “This gives us a high degree of confidence going into the formal agreement that it will be a positive move for residents and corporate citizens.”

Rochester Hills Public Services Director Allan Schneck said there is a tradition of cooperation and the cities shouldn’t be working in a vacuum when providing public works services to customers.

“The cities have historically been great partners and have provided assistance to each other in the past through verbal arrangements. This agreement formalizes a process that is equitable, economically beneficial to all and further empowers us to collaborate on the effectiveness as well as the efficient delivery of public services,” he said.

The interlocal service agreement for public works is consistent with the efforts of the Tri-City Sustainability Advisory Committee, which was established in 2011. Comprised of citizens, city staff and elected officials from Auburn Hills, Rochester and Rochester Hills, the Tri-City Sustainability Advisory Committee is a partnership created to develop a sustainability plan that identifies avenues for the communities to collaborate, share resources and measure sustainability. The overarching goal of the Sustainability Advisory Committee is to ensure an ongoing high quality of life for all residents and a strong business climate for commerce.

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