Sharon, Fontana consider shared services
The villages of Sharon and Fontana are working on an agreement for Fontana to provide building and zoning services for Sharon.
The agreement would have benefits for both villages, officials said, because Sharon likely would improve its services, and Fontana could make money and keep two full-time staff members busy.
Sharon Village President Diana Dykstra said the village has been reviewing its contracted services to see if any should be changed to reduce expenses.
The village now gets building and zoning services from Building Zoning & Assessment Consultants of Elkhorn, she said.
Dykstra, who also is the Lake Geneva city clerk, and Sharon Village Clerk Dawn Redenius were at a municipal clerks conference in Milwaukee from Wednesday to Friday and were unable to look up how much the village paid the company for services in 2008.
The village has contracted with the company for services for about five years, Dykstra said, and it was time the village reviewed the agreement. The village sent out requests for proposals and received three: one from BZA Consultants, one from an independent inspector and one from the village of Fontana, she said.
Dykstra said an intergovernmental agreement between Sharon and Fontana is the best option, not only for the quality of services but also for the opportunity to cooperate with a neighboring municipality.
The proposal from Fontana offered basic building and zoning services along with office hours and other things the proposals from the other companies did not, she said. The proposal also came in at about the same price the village currently pays for services, she said.
“We’re trying to work together,” Dykstra said. “It feels good, it’s creative, it’s something new.”
Fontana Village Administrator Kelly Hayden said the village has a similar agreement with the village of Walworth.
Two full-time staff members provide building inspections, zoning reviews and other services for both villages, she said. Walworth has paid Fontana for services in the past, but the amount varies from year to year based, in part, on the volume of permits, Hayden said.
In 2008, Fontana received $29,663.10 under the agreement with Walworth. In 2007, Fontana received $39,615.37 under the agreement.
The agreement has been in place for almost three years, and it has worked well, she said. The agreement expires in December and will have to be renegotiated, she added.
Hayden said the agreement between Sharon and Fontana is being modeled after the agreement between Fontana and Walworth.
Under that agreement, Fontana receives 80 percent of permit fees collected in Walworth, she said. That provision likely would be included in the Sharon-Fontana agreement, but the villages still must negotiate a rate for other services as well as office hours, she said.
“I think we can make it work,” Hayden said. “It will create a more regimented schedule for our department, but I think it’s all doable as long as it’s organized and structured to benefit all three municipalities.”
The villages plan to have the agreement in place for a year. If the effort is successful and both villages are satisfied with building and zoning services, they could renegotiate the agreement, officials said.
Fontana is reviewing a draft agreement, Hayden said. The Fontana Village Board could review it in September and possibly approve it in October, she said.