Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Act Concerning Regionalism

Passed 36 to 0 in the Senate, 134 to 13 in the House in the January to June 2009 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly

The legislation makes no changes to what towns or cities are enabled to do. It reiterates that mayors/first selectmen of two or more cities and towns in the same economic development district may agree to promote regional economic development and share the tax revenue from that economic development.

It stipulates that if municipal officials choose to enter into such an agreement, the agreement must include an agreement not to compete for new economic development, and identify the areas for:
· new economic development,
· open space and natural resource preservation,
· transit oriented development,
· capital improvements,
· regional energy consumption,
· arts and cultural asset sharing.

In addition, the agreement must include terms for three municipal copperative programs and three education cooperative programs. (For example: collective bargaining, purchasing, health care pooling, curriculum development, special education services, etc.)

Every municipality that is party to the agreement must participate in one general governmental cooperative program and one educational cooperative program. A copy of the agreement is to be provided to the Office of Policy and Management.

Under this legislation, Regional Councils of Elected Officials are required to promote regional economic development agreements and to identify the opportunities for and obstacles to agreements between towns within the region.

Earlier drafts of the bill would have made participating cities and towns eligible for federal economic development grants and would have provided cities and towns that prepared such agreements with a share of the sales tax and the hotel tax generated in their regions.

The bill as passed provides no incentives to regionalize.

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