Westerville to explore regional IT partnership
Westerville and eight other central Ohio government groups will look at how they can save money by sharing IT services.
At its Sept. 4 meeting, Westerville City Council approved a resolution allowing the city to seek a state grant to analyze and establish the Central Ohio Public Sector IT Partnership with the Metropolitan Education Council, the cities of Dublin, Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights, Prairie Township, Columbus Metro Parks and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.
A grant request would be sent to the state's Local Government Innovation Fund, which was established as part of the governor's last budget to help local governments work together to consolidate services and save money, said Westerville city manager Dave Collinsworth.
The grant fund provides money for feasibility studies of partnerships, along with zero-interest loans to implement any recommendations of those studies, Collinsworth said.
The study, led by the Metropolitan Education Council Information Technology Center, will look at the IT shortcomings of each agency, its assets and its liabilities to find ways that sharing services could fill agencies' shortcomings and lead to greater efficiency.
Westerville has invested heavily in IT, building the WeConnect data center and a related fiber optics network, Collinsworth said.
A feasibility study of the Central Ohio Public Sector IT Partnership could show how the data center could serve other central Ohio governments, or it could find other ways the city's IT department could collaborate with other groups, Collinsworth said.
"As you know from our investment in the WeConnect data center, that the city has invested substantially in that capability," he said. "There's a couple directions this could go."
For the grant, there is a matching contribution that each entity must make, Collinsworth said, but that will be met with in-kind work through attending meetings and preparing the paperwork needed for the study.