Local governments need assistance to develop agreements for sharing or consolidating services. Facilitation efforts could include relatively informal offerings, such as forums or meetings with other communities and vendors to discuss partnership opportunities, or more formal programming, such as direct matchmaking and brokering of collaborative agreements, or assistance in developing and sharing the data needed to create partnerships.

In addition, while the State of Illinois has created statutory processes to streamline some local government consolidation, it has not funded the practice. Several states, such as Michigan, New York, and Ohio, have pursued initiatives to promote and provide incentives for government consolidation by enacting legislation and awarding grants.{{For examples, see New York Division of Local Government Services, “Local Government Efficiency Program,” https://www.dos.ny.gov/LG/lge/index.html; Michigan Department of Treasury, “Competitive Grant Assistance Program,” http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,4679,7-121-1751_2197_58826_62422—,00.html; Ohio Development Services Agency, “Ohio Local Government Innovation Council,” https://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_localgovfund.htm.}} Other states have also used existing federal allowances for grants or loans, such as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s State Revolving Fund, to support engineering, rate, and consolidation studies. This tool could be helpful for local governments exploring new water management structures and systems to relieve their capacity constraints.{{United States Environmental Protection Agency, “How the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Works,” https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf/how-drinking-water-state-revolving-fund-works#tab-5.}}

Finally, local governments considering consolidation face the prospect of dissimilar service levels and/or tax bases that may result in an increased property tax burden for taxpayers located in the district with lower levels of service or a higher tax base. For initiatives that will result in long-term savings, tax credits could offset the resulting tax differential and ease concerns of property owners about tax increases.

Action 1

Provide analysis and recommendations for local governments to consider the fiscal, efficiency, and other consequences of sharing or consolidating some local services for all interested communities, particularly those with lower capacity.


CMAP, Metropolitan Planning Council (COG), counties, Councils of Government (COGs), and other regional entities

Action 2

Partner to develop service-sharing resources, including providing guidance documents to local governments on best practices.


CMAP, MPC, counties, COGs, and other regional entities

Action 3

Explore forming or designating a regional entity to facilitate efforts for shared or consolidated services and for local government consolidation.


CMAP, MPC, and partners

Action 4

Dedicate staff time for coordinating shared services, joint procurement, and other local government partnerships.


Counties or COGs

Action 5

Ensure data management practices allow for data sharing with other local governments.


Local governments

Action 6

Consider implementing a local government data-sharing program.


COGs or counties

Action 7

Provide funding to local governments for service sharing and consolidation feasibility studies.


The state or county governments

Action 8

Use existing federal allowances for grants or loans to enable studies of local service consolidation.


The state

Action 9

Provide tax credits for a limited period to offset property tax differentials resulting from local government consolidation.


The state