With more responsibilities and smaller budgets than ever before, state and public agencies today are looking for ways to reduce both time and dollars spent. With U.S. Communities, a National Collaborative Purchasing Program, agencies are allowed to skip the lengthy bid process and take advantage of significant government discounts for playground and recreation equipment. And although saving money is a great benefit, most agencies agree that it is the ability to skip the bid process that is most attractive.How it works can be a bit confusing to those who are not familiar with the program, but it is easy to master. First the agency must register by going online to www.uscommunities.org. There are no fees to register or to use the program. After registration, and electronically executing the MICPA (Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing Agreement), you are ready to start participating in all lead agency contracts. The program can be used to purchase a myriad of products and can be used as often as desired.