COLUMBUS, OH – At the beginning of January, a number of municipalities in central Ohio formed a non-binding agreement to share a range of services, fleet being one of them. The municipalities involved include the cities of Gahanna, Dublin, Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Worthington, New Albany, and Westerville.

Government Fleet talked to Kelly Reagan, fleet administrator for the City of Columbus, about what this shared services agreement will mean for Columbus’ fleet operation and for the municipalities that signed the agreement. According to Reagan, the agreement, officially a memorandum of understanding, will allow Columbus to “universally identify areas where shared services and procedures will create greater efficiencies and cost savings.”

“This brainchild came from Columbus’ Mayor Michael Coleman and the dedicated work by his staff to effect this paradigm shift in the Midwest,” Reagan said. “I will say that the fleet piece is a critical part, and the first to meet this initiative as laid out by the Office of the Mayor.”

To start, the agreement allows different municipalities to provide maintenance and repair services, and enter into contracts.

“Under section 9.482 of the  Ohio Revised Code “ORC” as recently enacted pursuant to House Bill 153 , we will be able to provide vehicle/equipment  maintenance services, enter into contracts for a period of one year, with an additional four, one-year renewals for vehicle/maintenance repairs at mutually agreed upon rates,” Reagan said. “Furthermore, the agreement encourages cooperative purchasing with both Parts and Services for the Division of Fleet management.”

Reagan said he sees this agreement as beneficial to the municipalities involved, especially given the financial situations many municipalities are dealing with today.

“We see this as a great opportunity to ‘share services’ where and when it makes sense,” Reagan said. “We also see it as an opportunity to encourage partnering during times of economic distress; given the recent reductions in state tax revenues, the Administration feels that it is very important to continue to tighten our belts and maximize our tax dollars as we all do more with less.”

One example of a type of service Columbus can provide to other municipalities would be emergency repair services.

“Since Columbus is a 24/7 operation, if a critical piece of Fire or Police equipment goes down on a weekend or in the middle of the night, we have the trained staff, certifications and experience to make the repairs and get them back up and running,” Reagan said.

Training is another area where Columbus can provide services and expertise.

“Since we are an EVT Training and testing facility we have the ability to train other government entities, and test them to properly certify them for Fire/ Police equipment repairs,” he said.

One other major area where Columbus can provide services to other municipalities is in purchasing aftermarket parts.

“After an exhaustive comparative analysis, we also discovered that our pricing for aftermarket parts was substantially lower than our much smaller city counterparts, so we will write contracts in the future to allow all other government entities to enjoy our pricing, simply because of our sheer volume,” Reagan said. Our hope and prayer is also that we may enjoy even great saving by enhancing our negotiations for even greater volumes of parts and services for all. This is for the greater good, we believe.”

Overall Reagan said he’s happy with the agreement’s intent and believes the municipalities involved can achieve even greater savings and efficiencies for central Ohio government agencies via this agreement.

By Greg Basich