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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 13. Joint Actions by Localities
10/21/2021

Chapter 13. Joint Actions by Localities.

Article 1. Joint Exercise of Powers.

§ 15.2-1300. Joint exercise of powers by political subdivisions.

A. Any power, privilege or authority exercised or capable of exercise by any political subdivision of this Commonwealth may be exercised and enjoyed jointly with any other political subdivision of this Commonwealth having a similar power, privilege or authority except where an express statutory procedure is otherwise provided for the joint exercise.

B. Any two or more political subdivisions may enter into agreements with one another for joint action pursuant to the provisions of this section. The participating political subdivisions shall approve such agreement before the agreement may enter into force. Localities shall approve such agreements by ordinance. Other political subdivisions shall approve such agreements by resolution.

C. The agreement shall specify the following:

1. Its duration.

2. Its purpose or purposes.

3. The manner of financing the joint undertaking and of establishing and maintaining a budget therefor.

4. The permissible method or methods to be employed in accomplishing the partial or complete termination of the agreement and for disposing of property upon such partial or complete termination.

5. All other necessary and proper matters.

D. The agreement, in addition to the items enumerated in subsection C hereof, may contain the following:

1. Provision for an administrator or a joint board responsible for administering the undertaking. The precise organization, composition, term, powers and duties of any administrator or joint board shall be specified.

2. The manner of acquiring, holding (including how title to such property shall be held) and disposing of real and personal property used in the undertaking.

3. How issues of liability will be dealt with and the types, amounts and coverages of insurance.

E. No agreement made pursuant to this section shall relieve any political subdivision of any obligation or responsibility imposed upon it by law except that to the extent of actual and timely performance thereof by an administrator or joint board created by an agreement made hereunder, such performance may be offered in satisfaction of the obligation or responsibility.

F. Any political subdivision entering into an agreement pursuant to this section may appropriate funds and may sell, lease, give, or otherwise supply the administrator or joint board created to operate the undertaking with such property, personnel or services therefor as may be within its legal power to furnish.

G. Any power, privilege or authority exercised or capable of exercise by any political subdivision of this Commonwealth may be exercised and enjoyed jointly with any political subdivision of any other state or the District of Columbia subject to the provisions of subsections A, B, C, D, E and F above, which shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Code 1950, § 15-13.2; 1958, c. 191; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-21; 1976, c. 583; 1991, c. 28; 1992, c. 370; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1300.1. Joint aid agreements by localities.

A locality may, by ordinance or resolution, authorize its chief administrative officer to arrange for provision of aid to other localities or receipt of aid from other localities in situations where a locality does not declare a local emergency, including approval by the chief administrator of agreements with other localities, subject to availability of resources. In situations where localities declare a local emergency, the provision or receipt of aid may occur pursuant to § 44-146.20. The ordinance or resolution may include terms and conditions deemed necessary by the governing body for participation in such aid and shall set forth the scope of the chief administrator's authority, including the type of aid that may be provided or received, or may generally authorize participation in provision or receipt of any type of aid including personnel, equipment, or other resources for public purposes. Prior to providing or receiving aid, the chief administrator shall conduct an assessment of available resources and shall consider establishing terms for the supervision of personnel, the term of deployment, payment or reimbursement of costs, and verification of insurance coverage.

The ordinance or resolution may allow for the participation of volunteers and, with approval of the constitutional officer, constitutional officers and their staffs. Deployed personnel acting pursuant to the ordinance or resolution of the governing body shall have the same authority and immunity in other localities as in the locality where they are employed or volunteer.

2011, c. 267.

§ 15.2-1301. Voluntary economic growth-sharing agreements.

A. Any county, city or town, or combination thereof, may enter voluntarily into an agreement with any other county, city or town, or combination thereof, whereby the locality may agree for any purpose otherwise permitted, including the provision on a multi-jurisdictional basis of one or more public services or facilities or any type of economic development project, to enter into binding fiscal arrangements for fixed time periods, to exceed one year, to share in the benefits of the economic growth of their localities. However, if any such agreement contains any provision addressing any issue provided for in Chapter 32 (§ 15.2-3200 et seq.), 33 (§ 15.2-3300 et seq.), 36 (§ 15.2-3600 et seq.), 38 (§ 15.2-3800 et seq.), 39 (§ 15.2-3900 et seq.), or 41 (§ 15.2-4100 et seq.), the agreement shall be subject to the review and implementation process established by Chapter 34 (§ 15.2-3400 et seq.). All such agreements, including those that address any issue provided for in Chapter 32, 33, 36, 38, 39, or 41, shall require, at least annually, a report from each locality that is a recipient of funds pursuant to the agreement to each of the other governing bodies of the participating localities that includes (i) the amount of money transferred among the localities pursuant to the agreement and (ii) the uses of such funds by the localities. The parties to any such agreement that has been in effect for at least 10 years as of July 1, 2018, and pursuant to which annual payments exceed $5 million, shall (a) comply with the reporting requirements of this subsection, notwithstanding whether such requirements are contained in the existing agreement and (b) convene an annual meeting to discuss anticipated future plans for economic growth in the localities.

B. The terms and conditions of the revenue, tax base or economic growth-sharing agreement as provided in subsection A shall be determined by the affected localities and shall be approved by the governing body of each locality participating in the agreement, provided the governing body of each such locality first holds a public hearing which shall be advertised once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality. However, the public hearing shall not take place until the Commission on Local Government has issued its findings in accordance with subsection D. For purposes of this section, "revenue, tax base, and economic growth-sharing agreements" means any agreement authorized by subsection A which obligates any locality to pay another locality all or any portion of designated taxes or other revenues received by that political subdivision, but shall not include any interlocal service agreement.

C. Any revenue, tax base or economic growth-sharing agreement entered into under the provisions of this section that creates a debt pursuant to Article VII, Section 10 (b) of the Constitution of Virginia, shall require the board of supervisors to hold a special election on the question as provided in § 15.2-3401.

D. Revenue, tax base, and economic growth-sharing agreements drafted under the provisions of this chapter shall be submitted to the Commission on Local Government for review as provided in subdivision 4 of § 15.2-2903. However, no such review shall be required for two or more localities entering into an economic growth-sharing agreement pursuant to this section in order to facilitate the reception of grants for qualified companies in such locality pursuant to the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund and Program established pursuant to § 62.1-132.3:2.

1996, cc. 713, 725, 743, § 15.1-21.2; 1997, c. 587; 2013, cc. 578, 612; 2014, c. 470; 2018, c. 728.

§ 15.2-1302. Certain Commonwealth distributions to localities.

Any state funds that were distributed to a locality, including a local school board, in support of a governmental program or function prior to a consolidation of such program or function or the governmental consolidation of the entities providing such programs or functions, shall continue to be distributed to the entity or entities carrying out the program or function after consolidation in accordance with the following schedule:

1. If the consolidation results in the governmental consolidation of the entities into a single locality, the state funds shall not be reduced below the amounts that would have been received by each entity from the Commonwealth for the governmental program or function computed on the premise that no consolidation occurred for a period of twenty fiscal years following the consolidation.

2. If the consolidation results in the consolidation of constitutional officers of the entities and the consolidation of school divisions and local school boards of the entities, the state funds shall not be reduced below the amounts that would have been received by each entity from the Commonwealth for the governmental program or function computed on the premise that no consolidation occurred for a period of fifteen fiscal years following the consolidation.

3. In all other consolidations, the state funds shall not be reduced below the amounts that would have been received by each entity from the Commonwealth for the governmental program or function computed on the premise that no consolidation occurred for a period of five fiscal years following the consolidation.

This section shall not prohibit the Commonwealth from terminating or modifying any program or function under which distribution to a locality, including a local school board, has been made, and if so terminated or modified all obligations hereunder shall cease or be reduced in proportion with such modifications, as the case may be.

If any such consolidations terminate prior to the end of the applicable period set forth above, the Commonwealth's obligation under this section shall cease.

For the purposes of this section, "consolidation" includes the transition of a city to town status.

The provisions of this section shall also apply to consolidations of a governmental program or function and governmental consolidations of entities, providing such consolidations take place after January 1, 1995.

1991, c. 189, § 15.1-21.1; 1994, c. 437; 1995, c. 728; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 708; 2001, c. 14.

Article 2. Local Government Associations.

§ 15.2-1303. Associations to promote welfare of political subdivisions.

The governing bodies of two or more of the political subdivisions of the Commonwealth may, in their discretion, and in addition to powers prescribed in § 15.2-940, form and maintain associations for the purpose of promoting, through investigation, discussion and cooperative effort, the interest and welfare of the several political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, and to promote a closer relation between the several political subdivisions of the Commonwealth. Any such association so formed shall be an instrumentality of the political subdivisions which are members thereof.

The provisions of this section shall be applicable to any such associations created prior to and in existence on June 29, 1956.

Code 1950, § 15-13.1; 1956, c. 246; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-20; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1304. Appropriating funds or supplying goods and services to certain regional organizations.

A. The governing body of any locality which is a member, or hereafter becomes a member, of any organization or association including an organization or association having members outside of the Commonwealth which has as its principal objective one or more of the purposes set forth in subsection B hereof, is authorized to appropriate funds to such organization or to provide goods and services to such organization, all for the purpose of advancing the welfare and economic interests of such locality and the citizens thereof.

B. Funds may be appropriated or goods and services may be provided, only to an organization which has as its objective one or more of the following purposes: identification of problems hindering the growth, development and economic functioning of the region in which such locality is located; development of comprehensive plans for the growth and development of the region as a whole and the promotion of interjurisdictional cooperation; development of appropriate policies and cooperative mechanisms among the participating localities for improving the administration of public services; development of concerted action among participating localities for the benefit thereof and for the benefit of the region as a whole; defense and strengthening of local government; and taking of such other action in connection with the foregoing as will advance the best interests of the entire region and of the participating localities; however, all funds for the development of plans or planning in Virginia shall be expended through commissions created under Article 2 (§ 15.2-2210 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 15.2, and other related or existing agencies authorized by the Commonwealth, to the extent that such commissions or other agencies are authorized by law to develop such plans or planning. Provided further, that no locality shall appropriate funds, unless specifically authorized by the General Assembly, to any organization or association having members outside of the Commonwealth (i) when such association or organization possesses the power of taxation or the right of condemnation and (ii) unless the locality has the right to withdraw from such association or organization at any time.

1964, c. 30, § 15.1-20.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1305. Review of appropriations to certain agencies; providing goods and services to such agencies in lieu of funds.

The governing body of any locality may from time to time require of any board, commission or authority, hereinafter referred to as recipient agency, to which it has power to appropriate public funds and has appropriated such funds in the past or has received a request for appropriations, such information books and records of the recipient agency as the governing body deems necessary in order that it may be assured that an appropriation or proposed appropriation will not result in the dissipation of public funds and in order that it may determine the use of past and the proposed use of future appropriations, the method of management, control and organization of the recipient agency and its present and proposed programs. If the governing body determines that a particular administrative function or activity of the recipient organization duplicates the services provided by the governing body and that public funds may be conserved by combining, consolidating or coordinating the activities of the recipient agency with those of the locality, it may, in lieu of an appropriation of funds for that function or activity, provide the recipient agency with the necessary goods and services. The governing body may assign officers and employees to coordinate the functions and activities of the governing body and those of the various recipient agencies.

1968, c. 554, § 15.1-20.2; 1997, c. 587.

Article 3. Regional Competitiveness Act.

§ 15.2-1306. Policy of General Assembly.

It shall be the policy of the General Assembly to encourage Virginia's counties, cities and towns to exercise the options provided by law to work together for their mutual benefit and the benefit of the Commonwealth.

1996, cc. 1045, 1055, § 15.1-1227.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1307. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

"Joint activity" means a governmental function which is carried out by, performed on behalf of, or contracted for two or more localities within a region and includes present and future activities.

"Locality" means all counties, cities and towns within a regional partnership.

"Region" means a planning district; however, by agreement of the localities of the planning district, localities which are not part of a planning district may be added to the region if the locality's governing body by vote agrees to become part of the region. In addition, localities may establish, with the approval of the Department of Housing and Community Development, a different regional configuration, provided that at least one of the localities is a city, if a city exists within the planning district, unless the city voluntarily agrees not to participate.

"Regional partnership" means an organization composed of government, business, education and civic leaders approved by the local governing bodies of the region to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The organization may be an existing or newly established regional planning or economic development organization serving the region.

1996, cc. 1045, 1055, § 15.1-1227.2; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1308. Incentives for certain joint activities by local governments.

A. The General Assembly may establish a fund to be used to encourage regional strategic planning and cooperation. Specifically, the incentive fund shall be used to encourage and reward regional strategic economic development planning and joint activities as described in § 15.2-1309.

B. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development and distributed to the qualifying localities in installments under the terms and conditions of applicable statutes and by procedures adopted by the Department.

C. All departments, agencies, institutions, and local governments of the Commonwealth shall make available such information and assistance as the Department may request in the performance of its responsibilities set forth in this section.

1996, cc. 1045, 1055, § 15.1-1227.3; 1997, c. 587; 2003, cc. 55, 77.

§ 15.2-1309. Eligibility criteria for incentive payments.

The Department of Housing and Community Development, in setting the criteria for eligibility for incentive payments under § 15.2-1308, shall require that:

1. A regional partnership shall exist and effectively function in the applicant region, and membership shall include as broad a representation as is practical of local government, elementary and secondary education, higher education, the business community, and civic groups. The partnership should include as many of the following as is practical: the mayor or chair and the chief administrative officer of each member locality, president of each institution of higher education, corporate leaders of the region, and leaders of local civic associations. The Department shall issue guidelines on the structure and organization of the regional partnership.

2. Each regional partnership shall develop a regional strategic economic development plan which identifies critical issues of economic competitiveness for the region. The plan shall contain, at a minimum, a comparison of the following criteria for the region, and the primary competitor regions in the southeast United States:

a. Median family income;

b. Job creation; and

c. Differences in median family income levels among the localities in the region.

3. Each regional partnership shall issue an annual report, including, at a minimum, the region's progress towards improvement according to the criteria identified in subdivision 2 and its progress in addressing the critical issues of economic competitiveness identified in the regional strategic economic development plan.

4. Each regional partnership shall identify the existing and proposed joint activities within the region, and the joint activities shall have a combined point total of at least twenty points, based on the values established in § 15.2-1310, in order for the region to qualify for any incentive payments.

5. Subject to the provisions of § 15.2-1308, once a region becomes eligible for the annual incentive payments, it shall receive such payments for at least five years, so long as regional partnerships continue to exist and effectively function. The region may reapply before or at the end of the five-year period for requalification to continue to receive annual incentive payments.

6. Joint activities existing prior to the enactment of this section or prior to requalification may be considered by the Department of Housing and Community Development for an award up to the full value established in § 15.2-1310. Existing joint activities which are expanded in scope or number of localities may be considered a new joint activity but shall not receive the full value of points as established in § 15.2-1310. Points for existing activities (those initiated prior to July 1 of the year in which the initial qualification or the requalification is sought) may not constitute more than fifty percent of the total points assigned.

7. The year for incentive payments shall be the Commonwealth's fiscal year following the calendar year in which the region qualifies, with payments made annually by the Comptroller upon certification by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Eligible regions shall receive incentive funds in an amount equal to the percentage of the funds appropriated for incentive payments for such fiscal year that represents the region's percentage of the total population of all eligible regions. Within eligible regions, the incentive funds shall be distributed to the localities on the basis of a formula mutually agreed to by all of the localities of the region.

1996, cc. 1045, 1055, § 15.1-1227.4; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 749.

§ 15.2-1310. Assignment of weights for functional activities.

In determining the eligibility of the region, the Department of Housing and Community Development may assign weights for each joint activity up to the number in parentheses below:

1. Job Creation or Economic Development(10)

2. Regional Revenue Sharing or Growth Sharing Agreements(10)

3. Education(10)

4. Human Services(8)

5. Local Land Use(8)

6. Housing(8)

7. Transportation(5)

8. Law Enforcement(5)

9. Solid Waste(4)

10. Water and Sewer Services(4)

11. Corrections(3)

12. Fire Services and Emergency Medical Services(3)

13. Libraries(2)

14. Parks and Recreation(2)

The assignment of values by the Department to any joint activity may be based upon the significance of the joint activity as measured by the fiscal resources committed to it, the number of regional localities participating, the significance of the activity as measured by the regional effort involved in developing joint activities, the complexity of the activity, the general impact on relations between the affected jurisdictions, or other factors deemed to be appropriate by the Department. A region may petition the Department to adjust the weights of the above criteria to reflect the relative importance of that criteria on the economic competitiveness of the region. Upon receipt of such petition, the Department may adjust the weight of any criteria; however, the weight of any one criteria shall not exceed ten. In addition to the weights listed in § 15.2-1310, the Department of Housing and Community Development may add up to a total of five points for regions that have taken successful actions to make governmental services or functions more efficient or successful actions in reducing the local property tax burden throughout the region.

1996, cc. 1045, 1055, § 15.1-1227.5; 1997, c. 587.