There’s an old saying, “Never let your right hand know what the left is doing.” Well, that’s OK in certain situations but when it comes to knowing what’s going on in your town, that approach might not be the best one to take. It can also be helpful to cities who might be strapped for new ideas.
Area cities work together on projects all the time. However, residents might not know about it until it appears on a city council agenda or in the local paper. Well, for those residents who want to keep a better eye on collaboration in their community and for cities who might need more inspiration about teaming up, the League of Minnesota Cities can help.
The LMC has created the City Collaboration Lookup. It allows users to search for examples of collaborations by city name, service category (for example police, parks, housing, sanitation), or both. There are more than 1,900 examples in the lookup tool’s database that come from several sources, according to the LMC website. On both the 2004 and the 2008 State of the Cities surveys, the LMC asked member cities to identify cooperative service delivery arrangements in which they participated with other public or private entities.
This is a useful tool for area communities. Sometimes all it takes is seeing an example to spark an idea elsewhere. St. Joseph is not new to the idea of collaboration. A recent example is the city’s partnership with the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership to help property owners with rehabilitation projects like roofing and siding improvements.
A sample search in the City Collaboration Lookup for Sartell, a neighboring city of St. Joseph, in the category of parks and recreation brought up an example of a tri-recreation agreement. The agreement is between two cities, a township and a school district, according to the entry’s description. That is just one example. Cities that want more information about how the agreement works or want to explore other examples are advised to contact cities directly. The lookup is just a tool to see what other cities are doing. The next step after finding an idea is for officials to follow up on examples they might want to implement in their communities.
The LMC is a membership organization that promotes excellence in local government through effective advocacy, expert analysis and trusted guidance for all Minnesota cities, according to its mission. For more information about the lookup tool, visit www.lmc.org. Search for City Collaboration Lookup. It’s worth the click.