The Ottawa County Technology Collaborative includes the county, city of Grand Haven, local school districts and public libraries.

“It grew out of some work (Grand Haven City Manager) Pat McGinnis has been spearheading out of the city,” Assistant County Administrator Keith Van Beek said. “It was initially a telephony collaboration — now it is a changed to a technology collaboration.”

McGinnis said the project began two years ago. With sights set on purchasing a new phone system, city officials decided to look at the possibility of collaborating with neighboring communities. Others joined in, which resulted in a study by Plante Moran regarding telephony options to lower individual capital and operating costs while increasing technology effectiveness.

“We received a grant to have Plante Moran come in,” McGinnis said. “There were 14 agencies that participated in the study.”

Earlier this year, a final draft recommended a governance structure be established to formalize the collaboration and lay the foundation for pursuing joint projects. Leaders say it became clear that various telephony options would involve other technology components, and other improvements were possible.

With this expanded focus, the name of the group changed to the Ottawa County Technology Collaborative.

“Really, it’s a large group of government and school-type entities talking about the possibility of not only telephony, but potentially other issues with fiber connections and being able to benefit with joint purchasing,” Van Beek said. “We’re at the table and part of this discussion.”

©2014 the Grand Haven Tribune (Grand Haven, Mich.)