If you were able to save 60 percent on a price tag without sacrificing quality, would you think twice about accepting that offer? The smart money says you wouldn’t hesitate, and smart money is what shared services is all about.
Sharing services enables operations to be consolidated resulting in lower costs, improved efficiency, and making the best use of skilled resources. Suffield currently and successfully shares two services with East Granby – Animal Control and Economic Development. When it comes to sharing, collaboration is key. Both towns are at the table when decisions are made, ensuring that everyone has an equal voice in how money is allocated.
The Animal Control Office is manned by one full-time and a part-time employee, Ryan Selig and Mark Blackaby respectively. Each town pays a percentage based on call volumes. Suffield has a higher number of calls resulting in our contribution being more than East Granby. Both towns benefit from employees who receive continuing training and have the right tools for the job, including a newer and well-equipped vehicle. The Animal Control Office is managed by the Suffield Police Department, who act as backup if the need arises.
Sharing Economic Development services began June 2018. Suffield and East Granby each have commissions and use the same municipal consultant, Kevin Bielmeier, as their main contact. Kevin was hired through the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC), which is a non–profit business that assists municipalities build local economy, make informed decisions, find location opportunities and grow businesses. Part of Kevin’s role is to standardize and simplify the process to launch a business in town. Companies look more favorably on locations that have streamlined predictable paths to do their projects. He actively recruits new businesses, using his marketing and PR skills. Kevin also keeps his eye on existing businesses for retention and expansion. When companies want to establish a presence in the area, Kevin examines the request and looks at Suffield and East Granby to identify possible matches to submit for consideration. It is ultimately the company who will pick their location. Kevin represents both towns on the Bradley Development League (BDL), a consortium that markets the airport and region for economic development purposes. He coordinates with Bill Hawkins, Suffield’s Director of Planning and Development, who also represents Suffield on the BDL.
Future projects under consideration for shared services include dispatch at the state level and regionalizing assessors and tax collectors. Questions regarding shared services can be directed to the First Selectman at 860-668-3838 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.