Being a good neighbor — shared IT Services

In the most recent "Local Focus," which is published by the League of Oregon Cities, there were a lot of stories about cities throughout the state sharing services. Woodburn is one of those cities. We share our IT/IS services with surrounding agencies who find it a good value and more cost-effective than doing it internally. What this arrangement accomplishes is more efficient government with less duplication. 

Not only do the taxpayers in our surrounding communities benefit from this arrangement, but so do the residents of Woodburn. The City is able to maintain highly-skilled employees in tough economic times by broadening the number of people served by this program.

Here is the article from Local Focus:

Thanks to the City of Woodburn, another quickly-emerging shared service is information technology, commonly referred to as “IT.”

Woodburn Information Services Manager Brian Miles calls it the City’s “Good Neighbor Policy” providing IT services with his four-person department to not only the neighboring cities of Mount Angel, Silverton and Gervais, but also the Hubbard Police Department, METCOM 911, the Hubbard Fire District, Aurora Fire District and the Woodburn Fire District.

“We first began helping the City of Mount Angel, but then the word spread to other small cities in the surrounding area about the assistance available from the City of Woodburn,” Miles said. “Outside sources often charge $120 per hour or more, but because we’re a governmental agency, we don’t have to make a profit, just cover the costs of our employees. We call this our good neighbor policy.”

The City rate for IT services is often one-half or less compared to what neighboring cities have been paying in the past. For example, Silverton was spending $1,000 or more per month for IT service and Woodburn is providing better service for less than $300 per month.

“Another big benefit of having us manage IT services is that we know what cities require,” Miles said. “Every City has similar needs; we’re efficient and very cost-effective because we know those needs. Because we’re working together, most of the time we can handle upgrades or solve problems remotely.”

Miles adds that there’s no need for travel or face-to-face meetings, which saves a lot of time.

“By helping out our neighboring communities, we have also been able to retain staff during this economic downturn,” he said.

In fact, Miles said the City has hired an employee to help with the extra work required, which in turn helps Woodburn’s workload, too.

“I think all of our neighbors are very appreciative of the serve we provide,” he said. “We’re cost-effective, efficient and we’re experienced in knowing our neighbors’ needs.”

To see the entire Local Focus issue click here.

http://www.orcities.org/Portals/17/Publications/localfocus/Oct2013web.pdf

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