STATEHOUSE — Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) regarding local government reorganization was signed into law today by Gov. Pence.
“This law helps improve the process of government reorganization by providing a method by which local governments can reorganize themselves in more efficient ways, eliminating redundancies and cutting red bureaucratic tape,” said Rep. Cherry. “The language in SEA 343 is identical to House Bill 1066, which I authored. By outlining these new regulations, SEA 343 effectively clarifies and streamlines local government.”
Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 343 improves upon the Government Modernization Act, legislation which was put in place in 2006, by establishing rules which both sides in the reorganization process must follow. One of the provisions includes changes in the voting tally system. In the case of a proposed reorganization between a municipality and a township, the voters residing within the municipality may only be included in the tally of votes for the municipality, and the voters who reside within the township may only be included in the tally of votes for the township.
SEA 343 also eliminates the need for a reorganization committee. It requires that a reorganization plan must be prepared and include a fiscal impact analysis which specifies any estimated effects on political subdivisions in the county that are not participating in the reorganization and on taxpayers located in those political subdivisions. The fiscal impact analysis must be submitted to the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF).
“Most mergers fall apart when one side attempts to benefit only themselves by absorbing another political subdivision, which results in hostility during the process and eventually defeat,” said Rep. Cherry. “Equaling out the vote tallies and having a professional, unbiased entity – like the DLGF – review the fiscal impact statement will bring both sides to an equal playing field and incentivize them to work out a reorganization plan that is fair for all sides involved.”
SEA 343 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.