An idea whose time has come: ShareOhioJul 08, 2014
Ohioans owe Auditor of State Dave Yost and his staff a round of applause for a new online innovation. The Auditor of State (AOS) staff is going to implement an innovative web-based system to facilitate the sharing of equipment, personnel and facilities among local governments. Using “ShareOhio” to facilitate the sharing of assets could start saving private citizens on their tax bills. In 2012, the auditor’s Ohio Performance Team studied the utilization rates for capital equipment (think air compressors and backhoes) in Lake County. They found that while some equipment was utilized heavily in each taxing jurisdiction within the county, other items were only used as little as once per month. Local governments could save big money by sharing under-used equipment rather than each owning and maintaining an expensive machine themselves. Other states such as Oregon and Rhode Island have successfully used these techniques.
However, problems existed: some usage records were poorly maintained, and actually implementing a fluid sharing system could be tricky. To that end, AOS drafted sample shared services contracts along with their study and built many useful capabilities into the website, www.shareohio.gov. Now equipment can be tracked and inventoried and usage reports calculated online with a few clicks.
We encourage taxpayers to get onboard and make sure their local governments use this resource to the fullest extent. As we have shown in our Joining Forces report, shared services have the potential for massive savings across the state and should be the first place local officials look instead of tax increases.