Waterloo and Cedar Falls open to discuss shared services
Written by Ally Crutcher, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
To do more with less is an idea shared by both Waterloo and Cedar Falls city officials.
Both cities are looking for ways to save financially, and sharing services could be one avenue by which to achieve that goal.
The City of Cedar Falls recently drafted a proposed Management Organization Restructuring Plan, in which the city would downsize from six departments to four. The plan cites an annual savings of $500,000 to $700,000.
While that's one idea, Cedar Falls Administrative Services Director Richard McAlister said the city is also open to shared services with the City of Waterloo.
Cedar Falls and Waterloo already share several services in some ways. For example, the two have an agreement to share emergency response when larger incidents take place. The Metro Transit also runs between the two cities.
Waterloo City Council member Steve Schmitt said he wants to expand shared services, and proposed the idea to the council earlier this year.
His suggestion is to have one department in Waterloo/Cedar Falls for things including public safety, recycling and human and leisure services. Schmitt said it makes sense for business, and would be cost effective.
Schmitt also said sharing services would allow Waterloo to become a more competitive city. With less positions to be funded, Schmitt said Waterloo would have the opportunity to lower property taxes.
Waterloo has one of the highest property taxes for metro areas in Iowa; Schmitt said by lowering those, it could entice more people to live and work in both Waterloo and the greater area.
The idea of shared services is still on the table to be discussed. Both Waterloo and Cedar Falls officials agree if a shared service can maintain quality while saving money, it's something to be considered.
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