PORTAGE—On April 4, the Portage City Council unanimously approved a plan whereby SARCOM Technology Integration Solutions, a private company, would take over operation and maintenance of the city's technological infrastructure for a contract period of five years, at which time a new contract would be negotiated.

SARCOM was chosen from among three proposals submitted by private companies after the city solicited proposals from a variety of technology management firms. Of the three companies, SARCOM submitted "the lowest and best" proposal to meet the needs of the city, according to City Manager Michael L. Stampfler. SARCOM proposes to provide for the city's technological needs at a cost of $2,233,000, a projected cost savings of $675,231 over the five-year term of the contract.

"The SARCOM business plan, transition strategy, customer service program and staff compensation plan were determined to be far superior," Stampfler said, "and would provide the best service for the city organization." In addition, SARCOM operates a local office in Kalamazoo, providing quick access to additional technical resources when necessary.

The city of Portage has been successful in the past in a variety of privatization initiatives, most notably the privatization of the operation and management of the city's utility operations in 1997.