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legislation should be reviewed to insure that it does not limit metropolitan planning to county governments but also permits planning by multijurisdictional agencies when a metropolitan area covers more than one county. To provide adequate policy guidance for metropolitan planning, the enabling legislation should also contain the other features proposed by the Commission. These provisionsadvice to local governments, plan preparation, the review of local development controls and major facility plans-are intended to relate metropolitan planning closely to the decisionmaking of governments in the area. To further integrate metropolitan planning with the political process, it is desirable to include elected officials from local governments among the planning commission members. Where the metropolitan area covers more than one county, the Commission suggests that one or more representatives of the State government, as designated by the Governor, be included among the members.


The State should establish, or adopt an agency of the State government for continuing attention, review, and assistance to the metropolitan areas of the State and their problems of local government, planning, structure, organization, and finance."1

In 1959, the New York State Legislature, on the recommendation of Governor Rockefeller, established an office for local government within the executive department of the State. It contains an advisory board of nine members, including representatives of both the State and its local governments. This office was given responsibility to assist the Governor in coordinating State activities to provide more effective services to local governments and in formulating State policies related to local government; to serve as a clearinghouse of information on local government problems and State and Federal services available to cope with them; to give advice and assistance to local governments requesting it; to conduct research; to encourage cooperative efforts among local governments; and to help improve inservice training for local government employees.

At least 10 other States have now established State agencies for urban affairs to give continuing attention, review, and assistance on problems of local government finance, structure, organization, and planning, including Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Alaska, Tennessee, Washington, California, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, and Colorado. Pennsylvania has gone further than any other State to date, and even the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, by establishing a Cabinet level Department of Community Affairs in 1965 and transferring to it a number of operating programs and planning responsibilities.12

Among its responsibilities are:

To promote a comprehensive plan, or series of plans, for the proper future requirements of cities, boroughs, or townships of the Commonwealth; either separately or jointly;

11 See "Office of Local Affairs," ACIR 1966 State Legislative Program (Washington, D.C.: October 1965), pp. 353-356.

Pennsylvania, S.B. 1444, 1965.


To conduct general research for various units of local government on problems affecting community affairs in the field of municipal administrative management, comprehensive planning, municipal forms of government, State-local relationships, fiscal procedures and generally do any and all things necessary as an aid to better local and area government and community development;

To coordinate and wherever provided by law to supervise or administer the various programs of State and Federal assistance and grants, including but not limited to housing, redevelopment, urban renewal, urban planning assistance, project 70, area development, revitalization of central city cores, mass transportation, river basin studies, port development, air and water pollution, land and soil conservation, economic opportunity, and public works and community facilities and Appalachian assistance; and to furnish comprehensive planning and technical assistance on any programs set forth in this subsection.

The new Department assumes the powers and duties exercised by the existing Bureau of Community Development in the Department of Commerce, the Bureau of Municipal Affairs in the Department of Internal Affairs, the Public Service Institute in the Department of Public Administration, and the local planning and development responsibilities of the State Planning Board.


The States should take legislative and administrative action to establish a program of financial and technical assistance to metropolitan areas in such fields as urban planning, urban renewal, building code modernization, and local government and finance.

Although every State makes available certain kinds of financial and technical assistance to local governments, most State assistance is limited to single functions and individual governments. Some States, however, have made substantial moves toward assisting urban areas on an area wide, integrated basis. In Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, the State planning agency has played an important role in coordinating State services for metropolitan areas.


The States should enact legislation providing for review of proposals for new special district governments by an agency representing the cities and counties within which the proposed district will operate.13 The agency should be permitted to approve creation of the special district only if it finds that no unit of general local government or existing special district, acting singly or jointly, is willing and able to provide the service for which the new special district is proposed; and if it finds a need for this service. The decision of the agency should be subject to court review.

Further, the States should enact legislation to insure that the activities of special districts are coordinated with those of units of general

18 See "Creation and Consolidation or Dissolution of Special Districts," ACIR 1966 State Legislative Program (Washington, D.C.: October 1965), pp. 421-434.

government.1 Land acquisition by special districts should be subject to approval by the unit of general government where the land is located, with this approval subject to court review. Proposals for special district capital improvements should be submitted for prior comment to the unit of general local government where the improvement will be located. Where the special district performs a function that directly affects a State program, such approval and review of district. activities should also be required by the agency responsible for the State program.

The Commission also recommends that States enact legislation requiring special districts to maintain budgets and accounts according to uniform procedures determined by an appropriate State agency. The State agency should be required to audit district accounts at regular intervals. Service charges and tolls levied by special districts which are not reviewed and approved by the governing body of a unit of general government, should be reviewed and approved by an appropriate State agency.

The States should also enact legislation providing a simple procedure for consolidating special districts performing the same or similar functions, and permitting an appropriate unit of general government to assume responsibility for the function of a special district.


The Commission recommends State legislative or administrative action to facilitate use of the Governor's discretionary authority to resolve disputes among local governments in metropolitan areas which cannot be resolved locally by mutual agreement, are not of sufficient scope to warrant special legislative action, but which, in the determination of the Governor, are likely to impede the effective performance of governmental functions.

In the absence of area wide units of government, no authority exists short of the State for resolving disputes among counties or cities in metropolitan areas. Examples of disputes that might best be handled through gubernatorial action are boundary and annexation questions, conflicts between local governments and State agencies concerning highway routes, and conflicts growing out of overlapping zoning and building regulations imposed on the same area by two or more local governments.


In reviewing the metropolitan impact of Federal aid programs, the Commission identified 43 Federal programs (by 1966 there were at least 70) that support the physical development of urban areas.15 These include Federal aids for housing, transportation, urban planning, open space acquisition, urban renewal, public works, hospitals, schools, airports, waste treatment, conservation, and recreation. The

14 See "Supervision of Special District Activity," ACIR 1966 State Legislative Program (Washington, D.C.: October 1965), pp. 411-420.

15 ACIR, Impact of Federal Urban Development Programs on Local Government Organization and Planning, prepared in cooperation with the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations, U.S. Senate (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1964).

Commission found that there is a strong need for reorienting Federal urban development programs to facilitate and encourage more effective organization and planning in State and local governments receiving aid, as well as for improved coordination within the Federal Government. Five major recommendations emerged from this study:

1. The Commission recommends that the Congress and executive agencies take action to remove from Federal aid programs for urban development all organizational limitations which require or promote special-purpose units of local government to the disadvantage of general-purpose governments (municipalities, towns, and counties). Other factors being equal, general-purpose units of government should be favored as Federal aid recipients. Special-purpose recipients should be required to coordinate their aided activities with generalpurpose governments.

Federal agencies have generally taken a limited approach in establishing organizational requirements for eligibility. Their primary interest has been to assure adequate performance of the function for which aid is available, and the achievement of specific program objectives. Most Federal aid is available to both general-purpose governments and special districts. The special districts, actively endorsed and sometimes even required by about one-quarter of all Federal urban development programs, include regional planning agencies, local area redevelopment organizations, industrial development authorities, irrigation districts, and water user associations.

In the past, the Federal Government has not hesitated to use its aid programs to affect local governmental organization. A shift in policy toward strengthening general-purpose units of local government, and away from special-purpose units, would simplify intergovernmental relations, make urban development processes more understandable by the public, and ease the difficult task of coordinating activities of local governments operating in the same metropolitan area. The recent amendments to the Farmers Home Administration Act authorizing loans or grants to assist in financing water development or waste disposal facilities include the provision that if the Secretary of Agriculture receives two or more applications, including one from a unit of general local government, for aid to projects to serve the same general group of residents he must, in the absence of substantial reasons to the contrary, provide assistance to the general local government.

2. The Congress and executive agencies should authorize and encourage responsible joint participation in urban development programs by local governments having common program objectives in metropolitan areas that overlap political boundaries.

Less than one-quarter of the Federal programs surveyed encourage broader areas of planning or administration than a single local governAn example of such encouragement is the open space land acquisition program, which offers an extra 10 percent incentive grant to local governments with authority to acquire open space for a substantial part of the urban area pursuant to an interlocal agreement.

On the other hand, nearly one-quarter of the programs have provisions which tend to discourage joint participation. For example, population limitations in the public facility loan program work against a broadening of jurisdiction. Similarly, the dollar limitation on Federal contributions for construction of any one sewage treatment



plant discourages joint participation to take advantage of the economies of scale available in larger treatment plants.

As a general principle, any unit of government which can qualify for Federal aid singly should also be able to qualify when it joins with others.

3. In order for the States to assume their proper responsibilities for assisting and facilitating urban development, the Commission recommends that Federal grants-in-aid to local governments for urban development be channeled through the States in cases where a State (a) provides appropriate administrative machinery to carry out relevant responsibilities, and (b) provides significant financial contributions and, when appropriate, technical assistance to the local governments concerned.16

Nearly half the Federal urban development programs require some degree of State supervision or involvement. State participation ranges from the direct involvement of State highway departments in planning and constructing interstate and primary highways, to a simple certification by State education agencies that the information submitted by local school boards applying for aid in federally impacted areas appears to be correct. State supervision in many cases can be exercised to aid coordination across local boundaries, if not between different types of aid. Thus federally aided projects for hospital facilities, sewage treatment plants, and highways must each conform to a State plan.

The two qualifications in the Commission's recommendation— suitable State administrative machinery and State financial assistance are meant to encourage a more meaningful and effective role for the States in urban affairs, while avoiding useless rubberstamp reviews. In order to encourage the States to provide financial and technical assistance to metropolitan areas, the Federal Government should take into full partnership those States willing to assume increased responsibilities.

4. The Congress and executive agencies should require and promote effective planning at the local level in all Federal aid programs significantly affecting urban development.

The Federal Government has an important stake in promoting sound planning related to the projects it finances. Investments in public works, hospitals, and highways are most effective when the aided project is part of a planned system of facilities. Comprehensive urban planning is not limited to a single function, such as highways, but covers all major aspects of urban development: land use and regulation, population distribution, transportation, and the timing and location of major public investments in capital facilities. The area covered by a plan may be a single city or town or a larger region, such as a metropolitan area or a State. In addition to technical studiespopulation projections, economic analyses, traffic forecasts-planning involves a concomitant process of governmental (and private) consultation and decisionmaking based on the background studies and projections.

18 See "State Financial Assistance and Channelization of Federal Grant Programs for Urban Development," ACIR 1966 State Legislative Program (Washington, D.C.: October


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