Interlocal Contractual Arrangments in the Provision of Public Safety
Document Type Article
This paper was presented at the Creating Collaborative Communities Conference held at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, October 31-November 1, 2005.
The range of interlocal contractual arrangements in the realm of public safety in Florida provides a research site to examine the extent to which these arrangements have been used by local governments. We developed a contractual perspective on interlocal contractual arrangements as relational contracts by arguing that their institutional designs are partly an effort of involved parties to reduce transaction costs that are the product of the properties of the services themselves; and partly by state statutes that allowed mix approaches to contractual arrangements. A relational contract is advantageous because it specified the activities to be rendered without unnecessarily intruding on the authority of the other jurisdictions. It is nonobligatory, voluntary, and easily terminated without legal consequences to either party. Alternatively, in the presence of regional politics and avoid future disputes, municipality and county governments can choose a more legally binding contract by using non-relational contract such as interlocal agreements, contracts or leases. Utilizing the data compiled by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, we identified 2,251 interlocal contractual agreements in the provision of public safety. Our results show that there is a positive and significant association between city-county relations and the type of contractual arrangement chosen to govern those relations. There are also evidence when specialized investment required in the provision of public safety services, a non relational contract was preferred; and when measuring and monitoring the outcomes of the services are relative difficult, a relational contract was preferred. A single functional service area with similar policy and goal preferences also affected the transaction costs of negotiating, operating, and enforcing contractual arrangement; so did the number of collaborators involved in an agreement.