Our View: Oswego, Yorkville make 'shared services' a reality

Last summer the city of Yorkville and villages of Oswego and Montgomery adopted resolutions recognizing “the value of coordination” of public services among the three municipalities.

The resolutions were the byproduct of a study examining how the three neighboring municipalities might be able to share their services, bidding processes, personnel and equipment to save taxpayers some money. Representatives of the three municipalities worked for a year under the direction of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to prepare what was called the Lower Fox River Partnering Shared Services Study.

All too often over the years we’ve seen well-intentioned municipal officials pay consultants to draft detailed studies on all manner of issues, only to see those same studies languish on shelves or online due to either disinterest on the part of elected officials or turnover of municipal staffs and elected officials or both. Fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening with the shared services study.

As we reported last week, the Yorkville City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the village of Oswego which will allow Oswego to use Yorkville’s Vactor (vacuum) truck “to assist cleaning catch basins in the village for two days.” In exchange, Bart Olson, Yorkville’s administrator, said in a memo to the council that Yorkville will “identify a project at a later date... potentially leaf pickup in the fall” that Oswego can assist the city with. The Oswego Village Board approved the agreement Aug. 2.

We’ve long believed that area municipalities could share equipment and other resources – as long as it does not compromise the delivery of services to their respective residents. In many instances, one municipality may have some equipment – like a vacuum truck – sitting unused in its garage that a neighboring town might be able to use.

Until recently, however, municipalities have been slow to embrace the concept of sharing resources. But given the financial pressures being faced by all units of local government and the taxpayers they serve, it makes total sense for government officials to look for ways they can work together to save money.

We’re pleased to see Yorkville and Oswego adopt the agreement for the vacuum truck and look forward to seeing more similar agreements between the two municipalities and Montgomery. Taxpayers should be pleased because it’s a sign that officials in Yorkville and Oswego were indeed serious about looking for ways to save them money when they embarked on completing the shared services study nearly two years ago.