Why Municipalities Should Work Together

Posted on Wednesday January 24, 2018 at 03:17PM

Small towns have so many things going for them in terms of quality of life, clean air and water, and relative safety. If you read anything I've written before, you will know that I am indeed a fan of all things small town--from community events that are unique to the community that developed them, to local newspapers, to community fundraisers,  to the availability of locally sourced food...yup, I'm a big, big fan.

We could make it better, though, if communities worked together, and yet, for the most part, communities look down the highway at their neighboring communities through a bit of jaundiced eye. According to the Municipal Capacity Development Program (January, 2010) Lack of trust between communities is one of the key reasons why communities have difficulty working together. I think of them as hockey rivalries, but surely it isn't just that. What makes one community mistrust one another when it comes to partnerships, particularly when both could benefit in terms of funding, planning and better quality of life for both communities?

At one time we had regional economic development associations, but after a relatively short time, they lost funding, and in spite of the fact that most people I've spoken to thought they were a good thing, they could not continue without the funding. Couldn't communities start something like this up again, sharing the costs of a community economic development officer? This is something I've been pondering for awhile...if each community within a proposed region put up their own money, it is possible that each community could benefit by sharing a community development professional.

Once a group of communities decides to work together, it is important to know what each one hopes to gain. The same document suggests that working together gives communities the opportunity to share what they know with each other, to work together to effectively plan for growth. I think if we really worked towards it, we could develop our own economies, and become less dependent on subsidies to sustain us. This document suggests that working together provides grant support, resource training, and creates opportunity. So why aren't we doing it?

Author: Solomon Matthewson Consulting


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