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COUNTIES ARE PURSUING VARIOUS SOLUTIONS TO ENSURE QUALITY SERVICE DELIVERY DESPITE FISCAL CONSTRAINTS.


These partial solutions include service delivery sharing, special districts, constitutional changes and alterations of maintenance schedules.


Service Delivery Sharing. Counties throughout the country partner with cities, other local governments, other counties, nonprofit organizations and the private sector to deliver high-quality services to their residents in a cost efficient manner. The purpose and design of these partnerships varies; but with decreased state funding and increased requirements for counties, sharing services can play a vital role in delivering services. For example, Iowa counties are part of more than 23,000 agreements with other local governments for service delivery ranging from ambulance services to public libraries. But numerous other examples abound, including the following:


• Some N.C. cities and counties share 911 services. Others engage in city/county partnerships for sewer infrastructure upgrades.


• Nevada’s Carson City and some neighboring counties have partnered together to create a cross- county health district.


• Kansas’ 105 counties share 27 community mental health centers.


• New Jersey’s city of Camden turned to Camden County to fight a crime epidemic. The county took over the city police department, creating a county-wide police force. By leveraging county resources, reduced murder rate by half in two years.


• In Neb., some counties co-developed a regional juvenile detention center for counties to hold inmates for other counties. Other Neb. counties created joint public agencies with cities or other governmental entities to develop fairgrounds, arenas or water redevelopment projects.


• Some Ky. counties partnered to create regional industrial parks, funded by their coal severance taxes. Others created regional recycling centers in partnership with nonprofit organizations and neighboring counties. In central Ky., 17 counties have a regional recycling center. Moreover, Ky. counties partner to build and maintain county jails.


SPECIAL DISTRICTS: Special districts function administratively and fiscally independent from counties, but the county ultimately remains fiscally accountable for the district. Because taxes and fees imposed by special districts are not typically subject to county revenue limitations, they represent one solution to the fiscal impasse; however, these special districts can confuse citizens, are removed from full oversight and may add layers of bureaucracy.


Key Terms Used in this Study


SPECIAL DISTRICT: Taxing districts created by county governments or other governing bodies. Special districts function administratively and fiscally independent from county governments, although the county ultimately remains fiscally accountable for the district.


18 70 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of COUNTIES | NOVEMBER 2016 COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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