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Municipal Consolidation Strategies for Allegheny County

Anway, Nicholas M (2011) Municipal Consolidation Strategies for Allegheny County. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Due to the numerous municipal jurisdictions statewide and in our region, government fragmentation has become a significant impediment to providing efficient and effective municipal services. The revenue and administrative limitations on local governments make it difficult to maintain adequate emergency response services, park and recreation services, schools, and infrastructure. Historically this issue has been addressed as a structural problem, suggesting municipal mergers as an appropriate solution, however, political obstacles to actually eliminating inefficient municipalities have deterred this approach. Thus, the contemporary political vogue in our region has shifted to functional consolidation efforts through municipal cooperation. There are several avenues to realizing functional consolidation efforts for municipal jurisdictions. Act 177 of 1996 (Intergovernmental Cooperation Law) includes broad language regarding municipal cooperation. There are myriad applications of this legislation evident between municipalities, the most compelling and widely applicable seem to be Councils of Governments (COG's). Councils of Governments are a unique application of the Act 177 language; multifunctional organizations established by a group of municipalities in the interest of facilitating service programs better suited to cooperative provision than by individual local governments. However, in the more than forty years since their inception Councils of Governments remain chronically underutilized resources for many municipal regions. In fact, statewide COG's are widely considered to be an ineffective model for governance. In many cases this is due to a lack of funding, resources, and public awareness about the value of COG participation . It is this report's contention that by providing examples of best management practices for Pennsylvania Councils of Governments and increasing state funding and incentives for municipalities to participate in COG programs through the Pennsylvania State Department for Community and Economic Development (DCED), much of the factionalization of the local government structure in the state can be overcome. Because COG's are voluntary organizations, they can be strengthened without cumbersome legislative change and draw the support of many leaders in local government. Moreover, with minor legislative change to the COG's legal status Pennsylvania COG's could be an effective solution to the inefficiency of Allegheny County local government system.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    Creators/Authors:
    CreatorsEmailORCID
    Anway, Nicholas Mnanway29@gmail.com
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairColeman, Moemc123@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberJensen, Brianbjensen@alleghenyconference.org
    Committee MemberBriem, Chriscbriem@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberDeitrick, Sabinasabinad@pitt.edu
    Title: Municipal Consolidation Strategies for Allegheny County
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Due to the numerous municipal jurisdictions statewide and in our region, government fragmentation has become a significant impediment to providing efficient and effective municipal services. The revenue and administrative limitations on local governments make it difficult to maintain adequate emergency response services, park and recreation services, schools, and infrastructure. Historically this issue has been addressed as a structural problem, suggesting municipal mergers as an appropriate solution, however, political obstacles to actually eliminating inefficient municipalities have deterred this approach. Thus, the contemporary political vogue in our region has shifted to functional consolidation efforts through municipal cooperation. There are several avenues to realizing functional consolidation efforts for municipal jurisdictions. Act 177 of 1996 (Intergovernmental Cooperation Law) includes broad language regarding municipal cooperation. There are myriad applications of this legislation evident between municipalities, the most compelling and widely applicable seem to be Councils of Governments (COG's). Councils of Governments are a unique application of the Act 177 language; multifunctional organizations established by a group of municipalities in the interest of facilitating service programs better suited to cooperative provision than by individual local governments. However, in the more than forty years since their inception Councils of Governments remain chronically underutilized resources for many municipal regions. In fact, statewide COG's are widely considered to be an ineffective model for governance. In many cases this is due to a lack of funding, resources, and public awareness about the value of COG participation . It is this report's contention that by providing examples of best management practices for Pennsylvania Councils of Governments and increasing state funding and incentives for municipalities to participate in COG programs through the Pennsylvania State Department for Community and Economic Development (DCED), much of the factionalization of the local government structure in the state can be overcome. Because COG's are voluntary organizations, they can be strengthened without cumbersome legislative change and draw the support of many leaders in local government. Moreover, with minor legislative change to the COG's legal status Pennsylvania COG's could be an effective solution to the inefficiency of Allegheny County local government system.
    Date: 22 June 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 12 April 2011
    Approval Date: 22 June 2011
    Submission Date: 21 April 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-04212011-230832
    Uncontrolled Keywords: allegheny county; Councils of Government; functional consolidation; local government; Municipal; government; politics
    Schools and Programs: University Honors College
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:40
    Last Modified: 29 May 2012 16:23
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04212011-230832/, etd-04212011-230832

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