Saving Taxpayers’ Money Through Shared Services

By Laura Curran

After a year-long effort, Nassau County has completed our Shared Services and Taxpayer Savings Plan for 2020. My shared service panel is a group of more than 100 Nassau County and municipal leaders brought together to identify and implement new ways to save taxpayers money through shared and more efficient services between local governments within the county.

Whether it’s joint purchasing or the sharing of equipment and personnel, we should always be looking for ways to save our taxpayers money. I’m grateful to the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Benjamin Center for their help preparing the document based on the work of our Shared Services Panel. And I’m happy to say we’ve identified ways to cut costs through cooperation. We know when we work together, we do better. Now, we know specific ways to save money.

Based on conservative estimates, the plan contains potential annual savings of more than $7 million in 2020, growing to $28 million when fully implemented in 2022. If the proposals are adopted by most of Nassau’s municipalities and school districts, the savings could be greater.

The Nassau County Legislature approved a draft of the plan. We must implement this to unlock savings.

Nassau is a perfect place to share resources because of our size and number of government entities. The county features 70 municipal governments, two cities, three towns and 64 villages. We also have 56 school districts and various special taxing districts.

That’s why I’m making sure Nassau takes the lead in coming up with ways to work together. From joint procurement services to record storage and shared information technology services, we’ve found ways municipalities can lend a hand to each other and save residents money. In the end, it’s all about being cost-effective and using our resources to the fullest.

One of the largest areas of savings we found was the creation of the “Nassau Saves Online Intermunicipal Shared Services Portal,” which would facilitate and expand joint purchasing, equipment sharing and sharing information technology services.

We found we could save $1.2 million in 2020, $2.5 million in 2021 and $5.3 million in recurring savings through a shared services portal.

This portal will help with centralized contracts that local governments could use to buy vehicle and heating fuel, road materials, specialty equipment and office supplies, as well as centralized contracts for things like training.

We also concluded that “Digitize Nassau,” a joint effort to digitize mandated records, could save $140,000 in 2020, $630,000 in 2021 and $1 million in recurring savings. Storage and maintenance of governmental records is a collaborative opportunity not only for tax savings but for more transparent and efficient management of records.

We identified $1.2 million in potential 2020 savings, along with $1.8 million in 2021 and $4.3 million in recurring savings from Shared Information Technology Services. We could help each other achieve more efficient service at a lower cost for information technology, telecommunications, software, hardware, network management and IT security.

Enhanced energy efficiency programs will cut energy costs and are estimated to generate the greatest savings of $2.1 million in 2020, $2.8 million in 2021 and $6.3 million in recurring savings. The county plans to develop a group of local governments for the collaborative purchase of natural gas and coordinate advocacy to push for the state to permit municipalities to collaborate to buy electric power.

School districts and Nassau BOCES indicated an interest in joint waste removal/recycling initiatives. Nassau plans to develop, if it proves feasible, a countywide centralized contract to maintain municipal vehicles.

We’re going to continue working to implement this plan. We now have a road map for shared services and we’re ready to head down this road that benefits not just the county, but municipal government and our residents.

Laura Curran is the county executive of Nassau County.

Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

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