Gahanna and Whitehall have become official information-technology partners.

Gahanna and Whitehall have become official information-technology partners.

The cities finalized an agreement Jan. 19, when Whitehall signed into ordinance a shared-services partnership for information-technology operations.

The agreement will allow both municipalities to share technology-management leadership services.

Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland said Whitehall would pay Gahanna $60,000 over 12 months for services.

"This mutually beneficial partnership allows us to provide executive-level management leadership and strategic guidance as a service to our neighboring community and as a way to increase revenue for Gahanna and reduce our partner's cost to do business," Kneeland said. "In partnering with other municipalities, our plan is to provide greater efficiency, help reduce duplication of services and realize an overall cost savings."

The collaborative effort is expected to provide a cost savings to Whitehall, increase revenue for Gahanna by $60,000 annually and allow Gahanna to leverage additional resources in special situations.

The agreement states Gahanna's IT director will provide subject-matter expertise to Whitehall by providing a high-level IT budget review, lifecycle planning and strategic vision by carving paths forward for technology.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said the two cities have a history of being technology partners.

Kneeland was Whitehall's IT director prior to becoming Gahanna's mayor.

"We currently partner on GIS (geographic information system) and dispatching technologies as well as fiber projects," she said. "In order to maintain continuity and progress, Whitehall and Gahanna have collaborated on sharing an IT director.

"Through this partnership, Whitehall was able to upgrade a part-time technology-technician position to a full-time position and will save Whitehall taxpayers approximately $15,000 annually."

The shared-services agreement builds upon the success Gahanna has had with other municipalities, including a shared fleet agreement with the villages of Minerva Park and Valleyview.

In December, Gahanna received recognition by the Ohio State Auditor's Office through its Skinny Ohio initiative for its best practices in its shared fleet-maintenance program with other entities.

State Auditor Dave Yost created SkinnyOhio.org as a resource for smarter streamlined government. The site includes a performance-audit database, a shared-services idea center and tools and resources for local governments that are interested in collaborating.

@ThisWeekMarla