Almost a year's worth of work paid off Wednesday, as the Local Government Innovation Fund Council approved a loan application for IT consolidation for local governments.
John Davoli, director of North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments, met with the LGIF council in Columbus Wednesday, and said the loan application was approved unanimously.
"I can't speak highly enough coming from a political background and a teaching background of the spirit of cooperation from (everyone involved)," Davoli said. "This is not only a good project all on its own, it's a great project, but the whole spirit of cooperation is getting a really nice momentum going now. It's a very positive thing."
The loan is worth $500,000, and NCOR and participants have 13 years to pay off the zero-interest loan, he said.
NCOR collaborated with Tiffin, Seneca County, New Riegel, Clinton Township and North Central Ohio Educational Service Center to put together an application for a $100,000 IT consolidation grant.
"This pot of money is available to do some big projects," Davoli said. "We don't want to re-invent the wheel or buy stuff we don't need. We're happy about it because our whole mantra of NCOR, here, is shared services. Our mission statement is to be regional source for shared services, and this is definitely a picture-perfect way of the shared service model."
After receiving the grant and completing the study, Davoli said Kathy Mohr and Brian Rupp of NCOESC helped put together a plan to work with dark fiber, virtual servers and backup generators. The plan is to consolidate IT services of Tiffin, Seneca County, NCOESC and other entities, to be more cost-effective and efficient with server space.
With the consolidation, all government computers and servers will be backed up at NCOESC, with a protective firewall security, he said.
He said everything saved at NCOESC also will be backed up in the NCOESC office in Marion.
"Say - god forbid - there was some terrible train derailment, or something happened that would force the evacuation of the whole area, you can still fulfill all government needs and all government facilities by going down to Marion and using the facilities down there," he said.
Davoli said 80 percent of server space is being wasted by political subdivisions in Ohio, and governmental entities can save money by sharing server space with each other.
NCOR is now working on LGIF study grants for a shared court facility and natural compressed gas, in addition to the Safe Routes to School program, he said.
"The funding stream is so tight right now that it's going to take this spirit of cooperation between schools, counties, cities, townships, villages and even private businesses to get things done," Davoli said.