Now that Hiawatha Broadband has decided to not apply for round two stimulus funds, and given the budget pressures local governments face, it is time to enter into a serious discussion of sharing/consolidating City, County, and School District I.T. departments. Other cities have found significant savings through consolidation of I.T. departments, and this is often one of the least political savings options to consider. Part of the savings could be used to fund completion of fiber for local government, which in turn could result in further efficiencies in government operations. The educational benefits of fiber for the school district are immense. Districts could share classes, and students would be able to have a much broader selection of classes to fit their individual interests.
As a community, we need to decide whether having three separate I.T. departments is a luxury we can no longer afford.
Update: In looking at the City, County, and School District budgets, I estimate that approximately $2,000,000 is spent annually on I.T. by the three units.
City I.T. budget here.
County I.T. budget here.