PA 16-144—sHB 5601

Planning and Development Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING REGIONALISM

SUMMARY: This act makes several statutory changes related to municipal efficiencies and regional cooperation. Specifically, it does the following:

1. authorizes municipalities to purchase equipment, supplies, materials, or services from certain entities ( 1);

2. expands the types of entities that are eligible for regional performance incentive program (RPIP) grants ( 2);

3. sunsets the option to apply for RPIP grants to cover operating and capital costs associated with connecting to the statewide high-speed network (i. e. , Nutmeg Network) ( 2);

4. allows municipalities to enter into an agreement to share the services of a resident state trooper or other law enforcement personnel ( 3);

5. requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to study methods for increasing school transportation efficiencies ( 4);

6. requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to use municipal reimbursement and revenue account funds for specified purposes, including the SDE study ( 5); and

7. requires entities updating their plans of conservation and development to consider the need for technology infrastructure ( 6-8).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the provisions concerning plans of conservation and development are effective October 1, 2016.

1 — GOODS AND SERVICES CONTRACTS

The act authorizes municipalities (notwithstanding state statutes, municipal charters, special acts, or ordinances) to purchase equipment, supplies, materials, or services from certain entities. These entities are persons that have a contract with a regional educational service center (RESC) or regional council of governments (COG) to sell such goods or services to other state governments; political subdivisions of the state, including municipalities; nonprofits; or public purchasing consortia. Existing law, unchanged by the act, requires municipalities to use competitive bidding procedures for certain contracts funded in whole or in part by the state (e. g. , school construction contracts, CGS 10-287(b)).

2 — RPIP GRANTS

Under existing law, RPIP grants provide funds to municipalities and regional entities for (1) jointly performing a service they have been performing separately, (2) a planning study on joint service provisions, or (3) shared information technology services. The act additionally makes RESCs eligible for RPIP grants for these purposes. It also makes local and regional boards of education serving a population of more than 100,000 eligible to apply for RPIP grants for a regional special education initiative.

By law, the OPM secretary must prioritize proposals submitted by (1) a COG, if all the member municipalities are participating and the proposal increases purchasing power or provides cost savings, or (2) an economic development district. The act additionally requires the secretary to prioritize proposals submitted by a (1) RESC, if all the member municipalities are participating and the proposal increases purchasing power or provides cost savings, or (2) local or regional board of education.

Additionally, the act sunsets, on December 31, 2018, the option for municipalities and COGs to apply for RPIP grants to cover operating and capital costs associated with connecting to the Nutmeg Network. By law, the OPM secretary must make such grants available in accordance with the Bureau of Enterprise Systems and Technology′s connection schedule.

3 — SHARING LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL

Existing law allows the emergency services and public protection commissioner to appoint a state trooper to serve as a resident state trooper in a single municipality or adjoining municipalities and specifies municipalities' financial responsibilities with regard to such a trooper (CGS 29-5).

The act, notwithstanding any statute, municipal charter, or special act, allows any municipality to enter into an agreement with one or more municipalities to share the services of a resident state trooper or other law enforcement personnel, even if the municipalities are non-adjoining. The act does not define “other law enforcement personnel” or specify the procedure by which a state trooper may be assigned to serve such municipalities.

4 — SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION COSTS

The act requires SDE to study methods and practices local school districts can use to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in student transportation. The study must include a statistical model for evaluating efficiencies in student transportation operations using linear programming that considers distances, start times, end times, routes, population tiers, utilization, and model contract provisions for such operations. By June 30, 2017, SDE must report its study results and any recommendations to the Education and Planning and Development committees.

The act allocates $250,000 from the municipal reimbursement and revenue account to fund the study (see below).

5 — MUNICIPAL REIMBURSEMENT AND REVENUE ACCOUNT EXPENDITURES

The act requires OPM to use municipal reimbursement and revenue account funds as follows: (1) $250,000 for SDE's student transportation study (see above) and (2) $366,000 for audits of private special education service providers required by existing law.

Existing law requires the state auditors to examine the records and accounts of certain private providers of special education services at least once every seven years. A private provider is a private school, agency, or institution, including a group home, that receives state or local funds to provide special education services to any student with an individualized education program or individual services plan written by the student's local or regional board of education (CGS 10-91g).

6-8 — PLANS OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT

The act requires municipalities, COGs, and OPM to consider, when updating their respective plans of conservation and development, the need for technology infrastructure in their respective jurisdictions.

Plans of conservation and development are statements of development, resource management, and investment policies. Municipalities and COGs must update their plans at least once every 10 years; OPM must submit an updated plan to the legislature for its approval once every five years (CGS 8-23, 8-35a, and 16a-24 et seq. ).

OLR Tracking: JSB; JKL; MS; cmg