August 17, 2012

CT doles $8.6M regionalism carrot to planning co-ops

Connecticut awarded $8.6 million to a dozen regional planning and development agencies for emergency-response preparation, but $500,000 was tagged for them to also investigate other ways municipalities can pool their resources to save money, authorities say.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Friday announced 20 grants awarded to regional planning and economic development entities across the state.

The program is run by the Office of Policy and Management, provides grants to planning organizations, economic development districts or groups of two or more municipalities that coordinate functions and services on a regional basis.

These grants were awarded to conduct studies examining the impact of delivering regional municipal services:

• $150,000 to the Capitol Region Council of Governments to study the feasibility of regionalizing back office municipal functions;

• $100,000 to the towns of Rocky Hill, Berlin, Cromwell, Newington and Wethersfield to study the feasibility of establishing a consolidated Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) regional dispatch center;

• $61,000 to New Haven's Regional Economic Xcelleration Development District for an economic development study;

• $60,000 to the Windham Region Council of Governments for a risk management study to assess the current insurance coverage for its member municipalities and determine the impact of pooling their insurance purchases;

• $54,581 to the South Central Connecticut Regional Council of Governments to study the feasibility of creating an inter-municipal shared service platform;

• $50,000 to the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments to study the feasibility of improving paramedic procedures and $45,000 to study the feasibility of creating a regional household hazardous waste collection facility;

• $44,500 to the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley and $35,000 to the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials to study the feasibility of creating regional animal control facilities.

Much of the funding announced Friday is for projects related to Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), authorities said. Standardizing mapping systems would allow state, regional and municipal users to better coordinate planning and disaster response.

Those awardees whose projects are GIS related include:

• Capitol Region Council of Governments - $1.453 million

• Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency - $149,340

• Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments - $786,000

• Greater Bridgeport Regional Council - $1.4 million

• South Central Connecticut Regional Council of Governments - $591,028

• Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments - $436,400

• South Western Regional Planning Agency - $2.15 million

• Windham Region Council of Governments - $249,349

Other awards are:

• $400,000 to the Capitol Region Council of Governments to make technical improvements to their regional law enforcement data sharing project;

• $250,000 to the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials and the Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments for the purchase of highway equipment to be used and maintained by their member towns on a cooperative basis; and

• $150,000 to the towns of Rocky Hill, Berlin, Cromwell, Newington and Wethersfield to equip a mobile crime lab and to provide further training to the Mid-State Regional Major Crime Squad.

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