Intergovernmental Cooperation and Joint Action

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I've had the pleasure of moderating several speakers over the last several years about intergovernmental cooperation and joint action, a passion of mine personally and as an economic development and public finance attorney.  Below are five (5) cool ideas that these speakers have discussed on that topic.  My hope is that some of these spark some ideas for your community.

Aligning fiscal years – one of the simplest ways local governments can cooperate is joint planning and coordinated infrastructure development.  But, that process is hindered when various participants’ fiscal years differ.  Some local governments have changed their fiscal years to align for planning and budget development purposes.

Local and Regional Associations – in addition to statewide associations like GGFOA, many local governments have formed local or regional associations (unofficially or via a nonprofit company).  These can be used minimally, e.g., for educational, social or community building purposes, or more robustly, e.g., joint procurement or project planning.

Joint Development Authorities – an extension of Local and Regional Associations is the formation of a Joint Development Authority (JDA).  Georgia law provides for the formation of these entities by combinations of cities and counties in a region.  They are ideal tools for the sharing of risk (e.g., costs of certain infrastructure or spec building development) and rewards (e.g., the economic benefits of economic development) among the participants.  

Joint Action Agencies – In addition to JDAs, other joint action agencies (state and regional entities that make joint financing and project development easier) exist, e.g., GMA, ACCG and the South Georgia Governmental Services Authority, or could be created that permit the joint development and financing of projects and economies of scale in employment of professional staff among other things.   

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) – Georgia law permits many types of PPP, which I broadly define as any legal arrangement permitting public and private entities to work together for mutual benefit, and Georgia has a long history embracing PPP, e.g., the joint ownership of much of the State’s electric generation and transmission infrastructure by public and private entities.  One important local PPP that should be taken advantage of is the State university and technical school systems.  Work force development is critical to a community’s economic and social health and many communities have successfully developed programs where a technical school, the local school district, local economic developers and local industries have partnered to develop and implement programs that give local students and employees the opportunity to learn skills that then benefit local industry and perpetuate a very beneficial cycle of economic prosperity for those communities.  

Please contact me at peter.floyd@alston.com with questions or to share your success stories.  I may work them into future articles so we can continue to use GGFOA to learn and improve our communities.  Thanks.

 

This article written by:

Peter Floyd, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Government Relations/Strategic Planning Committee Chairperson, GGFOA