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Jeff Mermuys: Towns can work together to solve economic crisis

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 4:00 p.m. CST

Motivated by the national economic downturn and Illinois' fiscal crisis, the City of Wood Dale and Village of Itasca held a joint meeting on March 16 to discuss collaborative efforts moving into the future. To have a meeting like this, both entities displayed trust and openness among leadership and a willingness to work together.

The two communities believe it is in their best interests to move faster and farther in finding greater efficiency and reducing the cost of local government, while still ensuring quality service delivery. This meeting was the first step in developing a longstanding partnership between the two organizations.

Moving forward, points of emphasis will focus around starting with smaller and easier to implement programs and moving toward larger programs with higher visibility. To accomplish this, well-defined goals must be established and each community must process and assess each case individually on its own merit.

When analyzing each case, one most look at threshold of savings, local control issues, grouping like services, sense of urgency and culture of the agency.

Some projects that the two communities have already worked on in the past together were: Rapid Response to Active Shooter Situations, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), use of Itasca Undercover Van and the use of Wood Dale "WAVE" Decoy Alarm System. Future joint projects include: Elgin O’Hare Expressway expansion, snow operations, Green Events and joint bidding.

In the coming weeks, a special joint sub-committee will be formed consisting of membership from both communities. This sub-committee will work on joint projects and then make recommendations to the communities as a whole. The two communities are planning on meeting on a quarterly basis.

Jeff Mermuys is city manager of the City of Wood Dale. Reach him by calling 630-766-4900 or emailing jmermuys@wooddale.com.

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