Kennewick and Richland have saved taxpayers $750,000 by combining efforts for purchasing supplies, equipment and services.
John Noble, who oversees purchasing as a shared employee for the two cities, told the Kennewick City Council on Tuesday that the purchasing partnership was a lot of work and "gray hair," but was worth it.
"This has been a huge success. He's done a wonderful job," said Marie Mosley, Kennewick city manager.
"It's the kind of opportunity we need to keep looking for," noted Councilman Don Britain.
Noble said the savings was significant for administration costs -- $60,000 to $80,000 a year mostly in salary costs -- because it cut out duplicated staff efforts.
Kennewick and Richland formed a partnership and collaboration on sharing staff, equipment and resources in October 2010.
In addition to the purchasing partnership, the cities collaborate on golf courses and a cellphone policy, Noble said.
Also Tuesday, the council heard reports on:
-- The Economic Development Strategic Plan from Jeff Kossow, the city's economic development director. He talked about how to attract new businesses by emphasizing quality of life, developing an educated work force, attracting young professionals and providing appropriate sites with infrastructure.
-- The new Benton County jail services contract to replace one expiring in December. Dan Legard, city finance manager, said the new contract probably will allow the sheriff to rent out excess jail cells to other cities at reduced rates. Although the rates may be less than what Kennewick pays for a daily bed rate, it will provide extra income that will keep Kennewick's rates as low as possible.
-- Progress on energy savings projects that include replacing 14 old heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at city hall and the senior center, and a plan to replace 4,000 street lights, which will save about 40 percent in lighting costs.