My philosophy on consolidations and partnerships is pretty simple: In an era of constrained budgets, we need to explore these more than ever — especially when, in doing so, we can get a service that is less costly, more efficient and of better quality.
That’s why I’m excited about the action the city council took Tuesday night, approving an intergovernmental agreement with Oak Creek for the delivery of information technology services. The Oak Creek City Council still must approve the deal.
Under the two-year deal — driven and negotiated by South Milwaukee City Clerk Jim Shelenske and Oak Creek Information Technology Manager Caesar Geiger — Oak Creek will provide us network management; server, software and computer maintenance; backup and security services; upgrades and joint purchasing.
Previously, a third party provided these services for South Milwaukee. For the same amount of money we had spending, in 2017 we will get more hours of weekly service (approximately 20 hours per week at $80 per hour) from a natural partner that is responsive, knows our systems, and has already informally partnered with us a number of times on IT projects. Over time, I expect this partnership will save us money, too.
The partnership was made possible by the investments in fiber optics we have made in the past year, connecting our City Hall and Police Department with Oak Creek’s City Hall through high-speed cable. Phase two of that project will connect our City Hall with the fire department, street department and South Milwaukee Library. Among other benefits, these connections will make it possible for Oak Creek employees to provide IT support remotely.
I’m most excited by this formalized relationship because I see it as a first step. I look forward to exploring other options with our neighbors around service delivery, and we are. We have to.
There are 19 communities in Milwaukee County. Too often we are providing the same or similar service 19 times in 19 different ways. That’s not sustainable for any of us.