Tom Ivacko quoted in Bridge magazine article, "Merger bills won't change names on fire trucks—yet"

December 20, 2011

In light of six new Michigan merger bills, Tom Ivacko spoke to Bridge magazine about cost sharing findings from the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy's Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS).

These new bills, signed by Governor Rick Snyder on Dec. 14, were designed to remove real or perceived roadblocks that might have prevented local governments from consolidating services—such as employee salary provisions.

"The Michigan Public Policy Survey at U-M's Ford School of Public Policy finds that only 10 percent of Michigan's local government leaders say their jurisdiction has suffered direct negative impacts from the employee protection provisions in state laws that enable service sharing, such as the Urban Cooperation Act," Ivacko explained to Bridge. "The percentages reporting direct negative impacts are significantly higher among counties (41 percent) and cities (27 percent) than among townships (5 percent) and villages (3 percent)."

Ivacko also said, "Service consolidation across jurisdictions is no magic bullet. While there certainly are cases where consolidation can lead to cost savings, academic research has also found that costs don't always fall after consolidation."