One of the best shared services agreements between municipalities exists in the Panther Valley, with Coaldale, Lansford, and Summit Hill participating.

Each of the municipalities has benefited from this agreement, whether it be street-sweeping, assistance with street repairs, or plowing snow.

Recently, a few council members in different municipalities have been questioning whether or not their respective towns are being shortchanged in the agreement.

It's unfortunate that this has to be second-guessed. It appears that the agreement has been working very well to the benefit of everyone involved. It would be sad to see strings attached.

One councilman in one town suggested that a more precise agreement be written so that one municipality doesn't benefit more than the others.

Another councilman has suggested that the municipality in which equipment is used pay for the fuel for the vehicles dispatched there.

The truth is, no matter how formal the agreement, there will always be one town getting slightly ahead in benefits from the others. It's impossible not to have this happen.

The way the setup is now, that tilting of advantage will shift year-to-year. In any year it could be Summit Hill that benefits most, while the following year it could be Lansford or Coaldale.

One thing that it does now is create good rapport among the involved communities.

Another thing it does is save taxpayers' money. Here's how. One town might have a street sweeper. Another might have paving equipment. By sharing services, each town doesn't have to purchase all that equipment, which is used only during certain times of the year.

The shared services agreement between the three towns is working great. Other towns should take note and come up with similar setups.

Hopefully politics in the Panther Valley won't cause it to crumble.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]