The tough economy isn't slowing down some cities as they're finding new ways to get projects done without raising taxes.
They're disregarding city lines and pooling their resources. Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, and Homewood are swapping equipment and facilities to save cash.
"Why would we go replicate the same kind of services that's five miles in either direction," Randy Robertson, Vestavia Hills City Manager, said.
Mountain Brook has a vacuum truck that costs close to $250,000.
Vestavia Hills can't afford one so they borrow Mountain Brook's from time to time. In return Vestavia Hills lets Mountain Brook use their court rooms.
"Now our personnel have been trained on how to operate and drive this pretty expensive and complicated equipment. Well if they have a dire need for manpower side, we can do some cross fertilization if you will," Robertson said.
Vestavia Hills will soon have a truck used to patch pot holes too. A used one can go for a $140,000 so they're sharing it with the city next door.
Another example is this Vestavia Hills road that backs up to a soccer complex that needed work.
"Mountain Brook stepped up and said, ‘We can help you. Even though it's your street, here's what we'll do for you. We will widen the edge of road, we'll make it safer, look at speed reduction measurements,'" Robertson said.
And Representative Paul DeMarco says we'll start seeing more agreements like this.
"I think that's the kind of creative thinking citizens are looking for as opposed to saying, ‘We can't do this.' Sit down with you sister cities or neighboring cities and say, ‘Let's work together,'" DeMarco said.
"I think it's a win – win. It's a win certainly for taxpayers," Robertson said.
Also Homewood has teamed up with Mountain Brook and DeMarco to complete a pedestrian bridge. DeMarco says in this case it's the state and cities working together for a common goal that works for everybody. Cities like Nashville have been doing this for some time with success.
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