A new alliance is in the beginning stages between Fort Riley and surrounding communities.
The Flint Hills Intergovernmental Support Partnership met for its first official kickoff meeting Dec. 11 at Riley’s Conference Center.
With the recent fiscal challenges facing the nation, opportunities for new ways of gaining efficiencies are being introduced for the mutual benefit of federal, state and local governments, said Benjamin Van Becelaere, director, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office.
The purpose of the first Intergovernmental Support, or ISP, meeting was to build relationships and brainstorm ideas on how the local and state governments can work together with Fort Riley to find new ways to build efficiencies and share resources.
“That is what we’re after,” said Garrison Commander Col. William Clark. “How do we become more efficient to take care of the constituency across the (Central) Flint Hills Region. So partnering our resources with today’s fiscal environment is key.”
Six working groups were initiated at the first meeting, including public works, emergency services, recreation, business operations/finance/procurement, transit and human capital.
Representatives from Fort Riley, Manhattan, Junction City, Geary and Riley counties participated in the ISP gathering.
Some “quick win” ideas were already suggested for the six working groups to begin discussing and included: bulk salt and sand purchase, bulk pesticide purchase, household waste contract bundling, emergency services signage rental/co-use agreement, animal control and development of top 100 supply items for joint purchase list.
“We’ve got some good think tanks here, with many of our department heads and respective staffs,” said Commissioner Dave Lewis, Riley County Commission.
“I think we came into this being very hopeful that there are some opportunities that have not been explored prior to now that do create some potential savings.”
The ISP initiative really began because of the new fiscal reality that is being experienced on all levels, Van Becelaere said.
A new proposed law, however, the FY13 National Defense Authorization Bill, is currently underway that may help open up more opportunities for intergovernmental relationships.
“We’re hopeful that this bill will open the doors to broaden what we can do as a military installation (and) with our local communities – state and local governments,” Van Becelaere said.
The language is structured to benefit all partners from a cost effectiveness view point, said John Armbrust, executive director, Governor’s Military Council.
Without the bill, however, there are still ways the ISP can work together to become more efficient, Armbrust said.
“You can do a lot of things without this (bill), and I think we need to explore those,” Armbrust said. “There are some things that this language will open up, but we believe there are a number of items that we can address, even if this doesn’t pass.
“I’m very optimistic that we’ll get this language in and will actually open the door to a fair amount of more activity.”
Groups, communities and states across the nation also are looking to see how to work this kind of activity as well, Armbrust added.
“It’s in the beginning stages now,” he said.
“I’m very optimistic,” the garrison commander said. “It can make a difference in the communities involved.”
By Calun Reece
1st Inf. Div. Post
Calun Reece | POST
Representatives gather at the first official meeting of the Flint Hills Intergovernmental Support Partnership Dec. 11 at Riley’s Conference Center. The purpose of the ISP meeting was to discover new ways local and state governments can work together with Fort Riley to build efficiencies.