HD6 - Encouraging Local Collaboration Through State Incentives

Executive Summary:
House Joint Resolution 570 from the 2011 General Assembly Session directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study the costs and benefits to the Commonwealth of providing incentives to localities that collaborate on capital construction projects or operating services.

JLARC staff identified 13 opportunities for the State to encourage multi-jurisdictional collaboration on local government functions, assessed the potential cost efficiencies and service improvements associated with these opportunities, and identified incentives the State could provide. Nine of the 13 opportunities identified are in K-12 education and public safety, the two local functions that consume the bulk of State and local spending. School divisions and local governments expressed interest in pursuing opportunities for collaboration if the State would provide financial incentives to help them plan for, manage, and fund the associated capital and operating costs. For most opportunities, the majority of divisions and local governments are interested and many are in the same region of the State and share a local boundary.

The State could use several types of incentives it has previously provided to encourage localities to capitalize on opportunities for collaboration. The exact costs and benefits of providing these incentives would depend on the amount of the incentive, number of localities that participate, and other factors. Collaboration opportunities the State could incentivize that, over time, would be more likely to result in State savings or other State benefits are in foster care services, K-12 special education, pretrial services, and career-oriented K-12 education programs.