SJR 261

Joint Subcommittee Studying Greater Richmond Area Regionalism

December 19, 1997, Richmond

The joint subcommittee held its second meeting of the year and received the consultant's final report regarding the regionalization of certain services. The report covered the areas of transportation (including public transit), water and wastewater treatment, and human services (including social services/housing and health/mental health).

Report's Findings

The most significant findings were summarized as follows:


  • Regionalization could enhance Richmond's ability to maintain its road infrastructure.

  • Several low-capacity functions (e.g., traffic signal maintenance) could benefit from regionalization.

  • Joint procurement in transportation could reduce costs without structural change.

  • A comprehensive public transit system could reduce the need for more road capacity and promote the region's economic goals.

  • The Metropolitan Planning Organization's (MPO) short-term public transit vision could be achieved with an annual investment of $5.2 million, plus $2.1 million in capital costs.

  • Expansion of the transit system would contribute to welfare reform success in the region.

    Water and Wastewater

  • Wastewater regionalization could be a viable approach to Richmond's separation problem.

  • Consolidation would reduce some administrative support costs.

  • Several low-capacity functions (e.g., lab services and line televising) could benefit from regionalization.

    Human Services

  • Consolidation of social services would result in some cost savings, but local service delivery would be affected.

  • A regionalized and privatized approach to welfare reform would provide a prototype approach in the area.

  • A regional intergovernmental Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) agreement to establish a joint contract management system could reduce costs and improve services.

  • A consolidated Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Substance Abuse Services Authority could serve as a model for regionalizing services.

  • A consolidated public health operation could reduce administrative costs, but current efforts like sharing medical personnel are more feasible.

    Joint Subcommittee Actions

    The joint subcommittee focused on the public transit recommendation dealing with the MPO's short-term public transit vision. A budget amendment for the $7.3 million total will be drafted prior to the subcommittee's next meeting. Also, the representatives from the City of Richmond and the Counties of Chesterfield and Henrico will meet and review the other recommendations before the next meeting in order to advise the remaining members of the subcommittee.

    January 16, 1998, was set tentatively as the next meeting date, in Richmond, at which time the subcommittee will decide on any recommendations it will make to the 1998 General Assembly.

    The Honorable Henry L. Marsh III, Chairman
    Legislative Services contact: Joan E. Putney