County governments continue sharing talksLocal government officials from Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Lake County and Lake Superior School District met last week to discuss how they can better serve the community – with the possibility of combining some services in the future.
Local government officials from Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Lake County and Lake Superior School District met last week to discuss how they can better serve the community – with the possibility of combining some services in the future.
County Coordinator Matt Huddleston mentioned sharing police, public works, and even planning duties.
“The county is not bringing this up to take over any services,” he said.
Silver Bay City Council Member Carlene Perfetto mentioned combining services to purchase things for lower prices, which is already the case in many instances.
Silver Bay City Administrator Lana Fralich said the city purchases items through the Minnesota Service Cooperatives. She said if county groups combined services, the cities would still need the same amount of police force.
Pooling health insurance, an idea mentioned by school district Superintendent Phil Minkkinen, could also save money. After bidding out health insurance last year, the district saved $180,000.
Purchasing fuel in bulk was also mentioned. An example was buying fuel through the Two Harbors airport to be used at the facility in Silver Bay.
Having buildings combined was another idea. Various representatives said there is a tremendous amount of duplication in buildings that could be reduced.
Sharing mechanics between all agencies was an idea that generated the most talk among the groups. Turning facilities into one “mega shop” was one idea, though union issues could develop if that were to happen.
The group decided to start with the idea about of combining some mechanics. Officials said they would go back to their respective boards and department heads to discuss the issue.
“[This is an] effort to save jobs and become more efficient,” Lake County Commissioner Brad Jones said.
Nothing was set in stone at the meeting as these are preliminary talks.