Over the next three years, Newton Falls, Liberty, Hubbard and McDonald will spend a combined $1 million or so less simply by handing emergency dispatching duties to Trumbull County.
While slow, progress is being made locally toward shared services that help taxpayers get more bang for their bucks.
Liberty eliminated a 1.25-mill tax that once generated $275,000 per year. Hubbard will soon save about $240,000 annually. Newton Falls is already saving $100,000 per year. All three communities recently opted to eliminate their own emergency dispatching operations and joined the countywide 911 center.
McDonald, meanwhile, began saving about $16,000 per year by switching its emergency dispatching from Niles to the county.
It wasn't easy for Liberty, Hubbard and Newton Falls government leaders to give up control, nor was it easy for union locals to relinquish some memberships. But they did, and their budgets are healthier for it.
It's important to note that only in Liberty are taxpayers actually saving money. While Liberty eliminated a levy, the other towns simply found different ways to spend the money.
There are many other methods that local leaders can use to reshape government more economically. Hopefully the trend here continues so that this region can better compete as a more cost-effective place to live and do business.