A new 27-page report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities details what cities and towns are already doing to cooperate, but Connecticut’s largest municipal lobby is asking the General Assembly to make it even easier for local governments to collaborate.
This year the General Assembly allocated $3 million to Councils of Government for regional service grants, but “this amount is not enough to foster concerted regionalism,” according to CCM.
The state has to “increase state financial and other incentives for cost-effective inter-municipal and regional cooperation,” according to the report.
The report also suggests that the state empower Councils of Government to be able to deliver services on a regional basis, negotiate multi-municipal master contracts with municipal employees and teacher unions and “make land use decisions on regionally-significant projects.”
In a state that has 169 municipalities and no county government, Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for CCM, said he thinks people are getting more comfortable with regional councils of government. And he thinks people are going to see the benefits of allowing regional councils to work on a regional basis with municipalities and the state.
But the bottomline is “towns have been cooperating regionally,” Maloney said. “We need the state to step up in terms of helping empower towns to do more on a voluntary basis.”
He said towns are “up-to-speed” on the need to cooperate regionally and they just need to foster a greater relationship with the state to move them along.
There are 18 state statutes highlighted in the report which enable regional cooperation.
Maloney said the report highlights what towns are doing regionally and shows that they want to do more regionally. He said they just need some language from the state that is going to enable and push forward more regional cooperation efforts and a little money never hurt.
“To really move regional cooperation initiatives we need to have that money continue,” Maloney said. “We recognize there are tight times, but everyone is interested in doing things more efficiently.”