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Tompkins County’s Shared Services Panel conducted the second of three public hearings, as municipal officials work to develop the County’s 2020 Shared Services Plan.

At the June 27th session, two municipal leaders once again brought up two potential shared services ideas that had been initially discussed during Panel deliberations two years ago, Enfield Town Supervisor Beth McGee urged examination of centralized code enforcement as a County function, rather than through individual towns. Both Supervisor McGee and Ithaca Town Supervisor Bill Goodman also expressed support for the idea of centralized information technology services for municipalities—which could cover a wide range of services and support. Mr. Goodman noted that such services fall under the umbrella of shared “back-office” administrative services, which had been explored two years ago and identified at that time as a possible focus for further study.

County Administrator Jason Molino noted that one of the challenges of the Shared Services Plan process is its very strict timeline, which includes a twelve-month limit on implementation of a shared services initiative and recognizing savings. It is possible, he said, that study of initiatives such as shared “back-office” services could be explored under other shared services grant programs if not found to fit within the constraints of the Shared Services Plan process.

Molino reviewed several ideas previously discussed that are being further explored, among them establishing a back-up Dispatch Center in cooperation with Cortland County, sharing the translation and interpretation services already contracted for by the County with other municipalities, and potentially seeking credit for additional municipalities expressing interest in joining the Greater Tompkins health consortium. A data subscription partnership, shared by the County, City, and Town of Ithaca, providing data regarding short-term rentals, is another idea recently suggested for study, Mr. Molino said.

The Administrator said he would begin to flesh out abstracts and prepare narratives for the various ideas for the Panel to review next month. That session will be conducted, and a third public hearing held, on July 25th, 5:00 p.m., at County Legislature Chambers, 121 E. Court Street, Ithaca.