Municipal Law

Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreements

Many municipalities throughout Michigan are still reeling from the affects decreased housing values have had on tax revenues. Counties, cities, townships and villages have all been forced to adjust budgets and, in many situations, cut back on services provided to residents. Countless municipalities are entering into intergovernmental agreements between two or more entities for the provision of services and programs. Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) assist municipal clients with intergovernmental cooperation agreements.

Although each agreement is unique, the law allows great flexibility in the establishment of these joint agreements between municipalities. Many examples of these agreements can be found throughout the state, including:

    • joint operation of fire or police departments;
    • joint operation of dispatch systems;
    • joint operation of Parks and Recreation programs and facilities;
    • joint public transportation systems; and
    • joint purchasing programs.

Joint agreements are designed to allow participating municipalities to decrease the overall cost of administration, as well as create opportunities for better bargaining positions for the purchase of common goods and services used to carry out governmental functions.

Some communities have been hesitant to use such agreements because of a perceived loss of autonomy or control in the provision of services. That fear can be erased by a carefully drafted agreement that provides for input and oversight by all municipalities participating. Agreements are tailored to fit the specific local needs of the communities and reduce the cost of providing for those needs.

The Governor’s office has long touted the advantages of intergovernmental cooperation. Various programs have been initiated in Lansing to encourage the combining of services among municipalities and have even provided financial incentives for municipalities to do so.

Attorneys at in CMDA’s municipal practice group are ready to assist governmental entities who are in a position to take advantage of intergovernmental agreements.