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Village of Lacona (population 582)

Name of service/government operation: Village Office

Form of sharing: Operations of both villages and their water system are housed in one building.

Services affected: Daily operations of municipalities - codes, utility billing/collection, tax billing/collection etc.

Year started: 2006

Partners: Village of Sandy Creek and the Village of Lacona

Primary goal(s)/motivation(s): The two villages have had the same clerk/treasurer since 1985 and until 2006 operated out of a small room in the Sandy Creek Fire Hall. However, each village board held separate meetings in their respective fire halls which are owned by their village. There were conflicts with the fire dept. activities. Storage issues and non-compliance with ADA were the main motivators in moving to a separate building.

What planning process preceded the sharing? Searching out property for a facility which would handle our needs for many years. A dilapidated, vacant 1891 railroad station became available so an historic preservation architect was hired. We appealed to our state reps for Member Item money. The building was accepted to the State and National Registers of Historic Places in an effort to secure grant funding.

What governance structures and/or agreements are required to maintain this agreement? IMA

Challenges: Lacona purchased the building in 2000 and we applied for grant funding several times. We were denied each time. In 2005 we finally decided that in order to get it done we had to find our own way and do it without borrowing if possible.

Benefits: Personnel can address customers from either municipality. There is more room to store active and inactive records so we can operate efficiently. Meetings do not interfere with fire department activities.

Impact on budget: We renovated the building and through grass roots efforts did not borrow any money so there is no debt to either municipality. The 2 villages equally share in the utilities and maintenance costs. Since operating this way there has been no noticeable impact on either budget.

Impact on labor: It is a more work friendly environment for all. There is ample room for files etc. There is adequate room for meetings not only for board members and staff but also for the general public.

Impact on service: One stop shopping for residents of the two villages. The villages share a corporation boundary so some residents who do not understand their local government do not have to be turned away to only go a mile down the road to another office. The residents love that this old building has been re-purposed.

Key contact: Jill Mattison