By: STEVE LeMASTERSPORTS EDITOR
October 25, 2012
FRANKFORT — State Rep. Steve Riggs plans to file legislation that would require local government officials to receive training on interlocal agreements—administrative tools that he says have proven big money-savers for government over the years.
Riggs, D-Jeffersontown, and co-chairman of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government, distributed a draft of his proposal at the committee’s meeting today. He encouraged committee members to review the proposal and sign on as bill co-sponsors after he pre-files the legislation in coming weeks.
The proposal will be filed in time for consideration during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2013 Regular Session, which begins on Jan. 8.
If passed, Riggs said the legislation would require local officials to receive two hours of training per year on how interlocal agreements work and the economic benefits that cities, counties and special districts could receive from them. “They are a very efficient way for two units, or three units or four units or government to do a service more effectively at a lower cost,” he said.
Currently there are 183 interlocal agreements in Kentucky, said Riggs. The majority of those agreements, he said, are for law enforcement services followed by waste management, water, 911 service and emergency services.
The proposed legislation would not require, or even address, the merger of local governments, said Riggs.
Rep. Julie Raque Adams, D-Louisville, who serves on the committee said an interlocal agreement between the City of Hurstbourne in Jefferson County and the state allowing the city to mow and maintain certain state property in Hurstbourne has produced good results. The city entered the agreement, Adams said, to improve beautification efforts.
An interlocal agreement between Hart and Simpson counties for enhanced 911 service provided by local citizens working under the Kentucky State Police is saving Hart County around $80,000 a year and has saved Simpson County around $225,000, said Riggs. Such agreements have also resulted in savings for counties that share jail and animal control operations, he said.
Agreements for the sharing of government services are not just tools used by local governments, Riggs explained. He said the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Flight was the result of an international agreement between the U.S. and then-Soviet Union to promote space exploration, among other international means.
As far as interlocal agreements go, Riggs said they work. “And we need to encourage their use. We need to make sure that folks understand their use,” he said.