In June 2012, Ohio’s Office of Management and Budget released 10 recommendations for how local governments could continue providing quality service despite severe budget cuts. They all boil down to the same thing: sharing employees, equipment, and facilities across jurisdictions.

Like many public works departments during the recession, the Ohio DOT (ODOT) and City of Ravenna had already begun doing just that. The impetus was a 42-year-old ODOT District 4 facility that was dangerously degraded. Built in 1969, the location housed fuel, a full-service garage, salt and other materials, and administrative offices, in addition to most of the county’s vehicles.

At about $5 million, completely rebuilding was out of the question. Besides, it was August. Oct. 1 is the official start of snow season in Ohio.

Faced with these realities, District 4 managers came up with a novel idea: Move operations back to their former headquarters in Ravenna. In 2003, ODOT had “sold” the facility for $1 to a local nonprofit organization that’s rented the space to the city’s street department since.

And that’s how Northeast Ohio’s first shared-services garage was created.

Next page: Visualizing solutions together