Area communities reorganizing IT management

The Falcon Heights and Lauderdale city councils in December approved establishing a joint powers agreement to manage Roseville’s Metro I-Net internet technology services used by several dozen north suburban entities.

Currently, there are 34 full member agencies and 9 receiving limited services from Metro I-Net, which was established in 1999 as a collaboration between Roseville and Mounds View and has now grown into a significant burden for Roseville’s city government. according to a Roseville official.

The participating cities and other agencies will be part of a joint powers agreement with a separate governing board for Metro I-Net that will relieve Roseville of staffing, budgeting and other governance responsibilities for the shared services.

In a memo sent last February to member agencies, Roseville City Manager Patrick Trudgeon stated, “Not only has the number of I-Net members grown, each member agency’s needs have grown exponentially. Some examples in recent years include the deployment of laser fiche, remote computer access, electronic door access, wireless access points, as well as body cam support for law enforcement.”

The new entity will have its own staff and director. Costs for member entities are expected to increase by about 5 percent, according to information in the Falcon Heights City Council Dec. 2 workshop packet. In Falcon Heights, this would mean an increase from $44,321 in 2020 to $46, 537 in 2021; for Lauderdale, from $17,865 to $18,758.

Falcon Heights City Administrator Sack Thongvanh said he expects the changeover to the new IT entity to take place in the first quarter of 2021, with no noticeable effect on services to residents and businesses. He said in December it was not yet clear how much involvement city leaders might have with the new governing board.

Lauderdale City Administrator Heather Butkowski told the Bugle, “It’s a change that was years in the making, so glad that it is done.”

—Anne Holzman

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