Merging municipal service can save money, increase quality

[Pioneer Press, December 06, 2009] Most city officials instinctively want to control their own services and preserve their identities—showing off the city name on water towers, police cars, snowplows and uniforms. Yet pride comes at a price. The state auditor's office recently released figures that show that some cities are paying 10 times as much per capita as others for services ranging from police and fire-fighting to building inspectors. Many of the lowest-cost cities share services with neighbors. A growing number of cities are joining them, lured by savings as high as 80 percent.

There is little evidence that forming partnerships hurts the level of services. In fact, the opposite is usually true. In some cases, the quality of service soars. Since the Apple Valley-Lakeville-Farmington Ambulance (ALF) service was formed 20 years ago, the average response time has been slashed by almost two-thirds to 7.5 minutes, said Dennis Feller, finance director for Lakeville and the ambulance service. And the recent shift of ALF management to Allina Hospitals & Clinics has boosted quality, he said, especially in treating heart attacks. Read the full story at

Posted on December 07, 2009 in Allina Health EMSnewspapersPioneer Press

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