Public Authorities, Regional Agencies, and Intergovernmental Cooperation

Historically, New York has been and continues to be a true defender of home rule. Under certain conditions and situations, however, there have been issues which are of a statewide concern that cannot be managed under the narrow view of local authority and financial capability in order to bring forward a regional solution.

The Era of the Authority

New York State has a complex system of public authorities that are formed to achieve public or quasi-public objectives, including financing, building and managing public projects or improving a variety of governmental functions. There are both state and local public authorities in New York. A state authority is a public authority or public benefit corporation established by the State Legislature, with one or more of its members appointed by the governor or who serve as members by virtue of holding a civil office of the state. A local authority is: a public authority or public benefit corporation created by the State Legislature whose members do not hold a civil office of the state, are not appointed by the governor or are appointed by the governor specifically upon the recommendation of the local government; or a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with, sponsored by, or created by a county, city, town or village government; or a local industrial development agency or authority or local public benefit corporation; or an affiliate of such local authority; or a land bank corporation created pursuant to not-for-profit corporation law.

There are also interstate or international authorities in New York State, which are created pursuant to agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power.

Most public authorities have the power to incur debt and collect user charges, but not to levy taxes or benefit assessments on real estate. While many public authorities have officials who are appointed or serve virtue of another office, the public authority is to act independently and autonomous and has legal flexibility not otherwise permitted to a state department or agency.

Public authorities often raise money through the sale of bonds and operate on little or no state dollars. In theory, a public authority must be self-supporting and able to meet debt obligations through revenues obtained from its own valuable assets, such as fares and user fees. To prevent the State from assuming public authority debt as a moral obligation, the present New York State Constitution explicitly empowers public authorities to issue bonds and incur debt but prevents the State from assuming that liability. (New York Constitution, Art X, section 5)

In Schulz v. State of New York, 84 NY2d 231, 616 NYS2d 343, 350 (1994), the Court of Appeals held that the state is not legally or technically liable on authority bonds nor for authority debt. The state may, however, choose to honor a public authority liability as a moral obligation.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the first public authority having a regional or statewide purpose, and it was the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It was created under a clause of the United States Constitution permitting compacts between states and approved by the United States Congress. In 1960, only 13 authorities existed in the state which, for the most part, focused upon the construction or management of facilities which had regional significance or were of high economic importance such as ports, bridges, tunnels and highways. The ensuing years, however, might be called “the era of the authority” during which many authorities, having a variety of functions were created. As of June 30th, 2016 there were approximately 577 statewide authorities in existence in New York.[1]

Table 1. State, International, and Interstate Public Authorities by Date Created
Name Year


The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey(5 subsidiaries)


Albany Port District Commission



Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority


Industrial Exhibit Authority


NYS Bridge Authority


Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority[2]


Power Authority of the State of NY



Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (2 subsidiaries)



NYS Thruway Authority (1 subsidiary)


Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority


New York City Transit Authority and Manhattan & Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority[2]


Port of Oswego Authority


Hudson River-Black River Regulating District



NYS Housing Finance Agency (3 subsidiaries)


New York Job Development Authority D/B/A Empire State Development Corp. (1 subsidiary)[3]


State University Construction Fund


Metropolitan Transportation Authority (10 subsidiaries)


Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority1[2]


Metro-North Commuter Railroad1


Staten Island Rapid Operating Authority[2]


Long Island Railroad[2]


City University Construction Fund


Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (1 subsidiary)


Battery Park City Authority


NYS Urban Development Corporation (107 subsidiaries)[3]


Natural Heritage Trust


Facilities Development Corporation - part of Dormitory Authority


United Nations Development Corporation


Community Facilities Project Guarantee Fund


Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (11 subsidiaries)


State of New York Mortgage Agency



Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (7 subsidiaries)


Capital District Transportation Authority (5 subsidiaries)


NYS Environmental Facilities Corp.


Municipal Bond Bank Agency (1 subsidiary)


NYS Medical Care Facilities Finance Agency - part of Dormitory Authority[4]


NYS Project Finance Agency


NYS Energy Research and Development Authority


Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York


Jacob Javits Convention Center Operating Corporation


Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Development Corporation


NAR Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center Corporation



NYS Science and Technology D/B/A Empire State Development Corp.


NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority


NYS Quarterhorse Breeding and Development Fund Corporation[5]


NYS Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corporation


Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding and Development Fund


NYS Thoroughbred Racing Capital Investment Fund


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.


Development Authority of the North Country


Housing Trust Fund Corporation[6]


NYS Affordable Housing Corporation[6]


Long Island Power Authority (1 subsidiary)



Homeless Housing Assistance Corp.


New York Local Government Assistance Corp.


NYS Theatre Institute Corporation


Executive Mansion Trust


Municipal Assistance for the City of Troy


Nassau Health Care Corporation


Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation


Westchester County Health Care Corporation


Hudson River Park Trust



Nassau County Interim Finance Authority


Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority


Erie County Medical Center Corporation


New York State Foundation for Science Technology and Innovation


Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority


Establishment of Authorities

State authorities and local authorities, with the exception of not-for-profits, are created by special acts of the legislature that gives the entities explicit powers and limitations. Not-for-profit entities that are determined to be a local authority, based on being affiliated, sponsored or created by a municipality are not created by a special act of legislature, but are organized pursuant to not-for-profit law. As a result, authorities display wide variation with respect to their powers and limitations. The Public Authorities Accountability Act (PAAA) of 2005 and Public Authorities Reform Act (PARA) of 2009 established general provisions in Public Authorities Law that apply to state and local authorities.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The growth in the number and power of public authorities resulted in the creation of the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) in 1976.[7]

PACB has approval authority over the financing, acquisition or construction commitments of a number of state public authorities, including the Dormitory Authority, Housing Finance Agency, Urban Development Corporation, Job Development Authority and Environmental Facilities Corporation. The Public Authorities Control Board consists of five members appointed by the Governor, four of whom are recommended by the Senate and Assembly leadership. The Governor appoints the Chair.

A 2006 Report by the Office of the State Comptroller found that the State’s largest public authorities had outstanding debt of over $124 billion, including more than $42 billion in State-supported debt.[8]

Although debt service on State-supported debt is paid by taxpayers, such debt has not been approved by voters. Additionally, another report by the Office of the State Comptroller noted that only 11 of the state’s public authorities have their borrowing reviewed by the Public Authorities Control Board.

Recent Oversight Changes

The Public Authorities Accountability Act (PAAA) (Chapter 766 of the Laws of 2005) and the Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009 (PARA) represent reforms that recognize the differences between state agencies and public authorities and the importance of those distinctions. At the same time, the Reform Act acknowledges that public authorities are created by, and would not exist but for their relationship with, New York State. As a result of this relationship with state government, public authorities must exhibit a commitment to protecting the interests of New York taxpayers and meet the highest standards of effective and ethical operation.

Accordingly, with the enactment of PAAA, the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) was first created in unconsolidated law as the Authority Budget Office. The ABO was re-established as an independent office when PARA took effect on March 1, 2010. From its inception, the ABO’s mission has been to make public authorities more accountable and transparent and to act in ways consistent with their governing statutes and public purpose. The ABO carries out its mission by: collecting, analyzing and disseminating to the public information on the finances and operations of state and local public authorities; conducting reviews to assess the operating and governance practices of public authorities and compliance with state laws; promoting good governance principles through training, policy guidance, the issuance of best practices recommendations and assistance to public authority staff and board members; and investigating complaints made against public authorities for noncompliance or inappropriate conduct.

The legislation also established an inspector general, banned procurement lobbying, strengthened provisions for public access to information; provided new rules for the disposing of public authority property, and established codes of ethical conduct for authority directors, officers and employees. PARA includes the following provisions:

  • Identification of Public Authorities

    • defines public authorities as state, local, interstate or international, and affiliates or subsidiaries thereof.

  • Improved Governance

    • requires board members to sign an acknowledgement of fiduciary duty

    • requires independent board members on State and local authorities and finance committees for those authorities that issue debt;

    • establishes roles and responsibilities of board members for State and local authorities;

    • mandates audit and governance committees for all State and local authorities;

    • mandates training for board members;

    • bans personal loans to board members, officers and employees; and

    • requires financial disclosure.

  • Improved Independent Audit Standards

    • requires independent audits;

    • requires rotation of auditors every five years;

    • prohibits non-audit services, unless receiving previous written approval by the audit -committee; and

    • prohibits a firm from performing an authority audit if any executive officer was employed by that firm and participated in any capacity in the audit of such authority during the one-year period preceding the date of the initiation of the audit.

  • Increased Transparency

    • continues reporting requirements for state authorities and local authorities.

Table 2. Revised Breakdown of Public Authorities By Class
Class Description Number




Major public authorities with statewide or regional significance and their subsidiaries



Entities affiliated with a State agency, or entities created by the State that have limited jurisdiction but a majority of Board appointments made by the Governor or other State officials



Entities with local jurisdiction



Entities with interstate or international jurisdiction and their subsidiaries


Regional Agencies

In the course of the state’s population growth and the expansion of towns, cities and villages there arose concern among the population that some of the state’s natural resources could be threatened. There also arose a concern that under certain circumstances, nature itself would unleash its destructive power upon the urbanizing areas of the state. In response to these concerns, the state established a number of agencies with a regional focus to the issues which transcended political boundaries. Regional authorities now carry out such diverse functions as operating regional transportation systems, managing airports, regulating rivers, constructing facilities for colleges and hospitals, developing and operating ports and carrying out urban and economic development activities.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Several interstate regional authorities exist in the New York metropolitan area, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This authority is operated by a 12 member board of commissioners, half of whom are appointed by the State of New York and half by the State of New Jersey. The Port Authority is responsible for all aspects of port commerce in and around New York City, the Hudson River bridges and tunnels, as well as for the operation of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Airports and numerous other transportation facilities. In addition, the Port authority operates the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation Rapid Transit system (PATH) under the Hudson River between the two states.

Adirondack Park Agency

The [Adirondack Park Agency] is an independent, bipartisan state agency responsible for developing long-range park policy in a forum that balances statewide concerns and the interests of local governments in the Park. It was created by New York State law in 1971. The legislation defined the makeup and functions of the agency and authorized the agency to develop two plans for lands within the Adirondack Park. The approximately 2.5 million acres of public lands in the Park are managed according to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan regulates land use and development activities on the 2.9 million acres of privately owned lands in the park.

The agency also administers the Adirondack Park Agency State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act for private lands adjacent to designated rivers in the park, and the State Freshwater Wetlands Act within the Park.

The Agency Board is composed of 11 members, eight of whom are New York State residents nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. Five of the appointed members must reside within the boundaries of the Park. In addition to the eight appointed members, three members serve ex-officio. These are the Commissioners of Departments of Environmental Conservation and Economic Development, and the Secretary of State. Each member from within the Park must represent a different county and no more than five members can be from one political party.

The agency provides several types of service to landowners considering new land use and development within the Park which include:

  • Jurisdictional advice: The agency will provide a letter informing a landowner whether a permit is needed for a new land use and development or subdivision, or whether a variance is needed from the shoreline standards of the agency. In many cases the letter advises that no permit or variance is needed. This determination is often helpful in completing financing and other arrangements related to new development in the park.

  • Wetland advice: The agency will determine the location of regulated wetlands on a property or the need for a wetland permit.

  • Permit application: A landowner proposing new land use or development who knows an agency permit is required may initiate a permit application without first receiving jurisdictional advice.

  • Changes to the Park Plan Map: agency staff will advise on criteria, boundaries, and the process for amendment of the Official Map.

Tug Hill Commission

The Tug Hill Region lies between Lake Ontario and the Adirondacks. Larger than the states of Delaware or Rhode Island, its 2,100 square miles comprise one of the most rural and remote sections of New York State and the Northeast. A scattering of public lands covers a tenth of the region, with most of that land used extensively for timber production, hunting, and recreation. The rest is privately owned forest, farms, and homes.

Tug Hill’s total population is just over 100,000, two-thirds of which is concentrated in villages around its edge. Its densely forested core of about 800 square miles is among New York’s most remote areas, with a population of just a few thousand and few public roads.

The uniqueness of the Tug Hill region and its natural resources were recognized by New York State in 1972 when it created the Temporary Commission on the Tug Hill, a non-regulatory state agency charged with helping local governments, organizations, and citizens shape the future of the region, especially its environment and economy. In 1992, the state legislature passed the Tug Reserve Act, further recognizing the statewide importance of the region’s natural resources. Congress has recognized the region as an integral part of the Northern Forest Lands area.

In 1998, new state legislative authorization for the Tug Hill Commission (permanently establishing the Commission within New York State’s Executive Law, Article 37, section 847) noted Tug Hill’s “lands and waters are important to the State of New York as municipal water supply, as wildlife habitat, as key resources supporting forest industry, farming, recreation and tourism and traditional land uses such as hunting and fishing.” Other legislation in 1998 (Chapter 419, Laws of 1998) supported the State’s purchase of conservation easements in the Tug Hill region, adding it to similar provisions that apply in New York’s Adirondack Park, Catskill Park and watershed of the City of Rochester.

The nine members of its governing body are all residents of the region.

Lake George Park Commission

The Lake George Park and the Lake George Park Commission are established by Article 43 of the Environmental Conservation Law. The purpose of the Commission generally is to preserve, protect, and enhance the unique natural, scenic and recreational resources of the Lake George Park, which consists of Lake George and its land drainage areas. It is entirely within the Adirondack Park. The Commission has specific regulatory and enforcement powers relating to activities on the lake, along the shoreline and within the land drainage basin.

Among other duties, the commission: operates the Lake George Park Commission Marine Patrol (a law enforcement and public safety function); administers regulations governing wharfs, docks and moorings, marinas, navigation, and recreational activities; and administers regulations for the preparation of local storm water management plans and storm water regulatory programs for areas within the park where development is occurring. It must also develop and administer regulations for the discharge of treated sewage effluent, conduct a water quality monitoring program and investigate, identify and abate sources of ground and surface water contamination.

Hudson River Valley Greenway

The Hudson River Valley Greenway is a unique state-sponsored program established by the Greenway Act of 1991. The program is designed to encourage projects and initiatives related to the intersecting goals of natural and cultural resource protection, regional planning, economic development, public access, and heritage and environmental education. It provides technical assistance and catalytic grant funding for planning, water and land trails, and other projects that reinforce these goals. The legislatively defined Greenway area includes all of the municipalities within these counties: Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Ulster, Washington, Westchester, municipalities in Greene County outside of the Catskill Park, and those portions of New York and Bronx counties adjacent to the Hudson River and within the city’s waterfront revitalization program. In keeping with the New York tradition of home rule, the Greenway program has no regulatory authority and participation by municipalities in Greenway programs and projects is entirely voluntary. The Greenway also manages the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area in partnership with the National Park Service.

Central Pine Barrens Commission

New York’s most southeastern county, Suffolk County, occupies the eastern end of Long Island, and comprises over 900 square miles of terrestrial and marine environments. Three of Suffolk County’s ten towns are host to a 105,000+ acre, New York State-designated region known as the (Central Pine Barrens).

A rich concoction of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, interconnected surface and ground waters, recreational niches, historic locales, farmlands, and residential communities, this region contains the largest remnant of a forest thought to have once encompassed over a quarter million acres on Long Island. New York State and Suffolk County recognized a need to protect groundwater quality because it is the sole source of drinking water. The region lies over an underground drinking water aquifer known as a “deep recharge area” which supplies much of the area’s public water supply. In addition, the Central Pine Barrens region contains fire-dependent, fire-adapted ecosystem and landscape, found in only a few locations in the United States, which contains one of the greatest concentrations of rare, endangered and threatened plans and animals in New York State.

In 1993, New York State’s Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act officially defined this region at the junction of the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southampton, and started a process for regional planning and permitting which continues today. The 1993 Act created a five member Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, an Advisory Committee, and a "planning calendar" (now completed), which led to the June 1995 adoption of the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

The Commission possesses the combined duties of a state agency, a planning board and a park commission and has joint land use review and regulation, permitting, and enforcement authority along with local municipalities. The implementation of the land use plan is overseen and managed by the Commission. In addition, the Commission operates a transfer of development rights and conservation easement program and also engages in a number of stewardship and ecological management activities.

The Regional Planning Councils

Unlike state-created regional agencies, regional planning councils are locally formed by the agreement of adjoining counties. The primary function of regional planning councils is to study the needs and conditions of an entire region and to develop strategies that enhance the region’s communities. Recognition was given to the regional council concept when the federal government authorized the establishment of area-wide planning agencies. These agencies were permitted to receive federal planning funds. The federal government then required proposals for federal funding to be reviewed on a regional level to determine district-wide significance and potential conflict with master planning. This review was undertaken by the regional planning councils. The federal government later rescinded this requirement, but in the interest of regional planning, New York State continued the program.

Regional councils were created to provide a regional approach to concerns that cross the lines of local governments' jurisdictions. Nationwide, there are over 670 of these regional councils, representing almost all 50 states. These councils are a vehicle for local governments to share their resources, and to make the most of funding, planning, and human resources.

Most are voluntary associations, and do not have the power to regulate or tax. They are primarily funded by local governments, as well as by state and federal funds. The councils are responsible to the representatives of the communities in their regions.

The regional view encourages an impartial, bipartisan conduit for the exchange of information. This exchange allows for objective recommendations for the resolution of problems, including the ability to interrelate many key areas such as housing, transportation, and economic development. Joint municipal presentation also gives local governments more influence with funding sources and legislative bodies.

Planning services provided by regional councils include transportation, housing and community development, groundwater protection, water resource management, wastewater treatment, solid waste disposal, land use, and rural preservation planning. Information services provided by regional councils include the operation of regional data centers, public education and information, and maintenance of regional Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Other services provided by regional councils may include special services for low-income and aging populations, job training and employment services, economic development activities, and small business promotion.

Technical assistance to local governments may also be offered, and can include supplementation of local planning efforts, preparations of grant applications and coordination, cost effective regional purchasing, public administration, financial expertise, and information systems.


Articles 12-B and 5-G of the New York State General Municipal Law give affiliated municipalities the legal authority to create regional or metropolitan planning boards and joint-purpose municipal corporations. Programs

New York’s regional planning councils provide comprehensive planning for the coordinated growth and development of their regions. This involves conducting regional studies to assess needs, promoting the region’s economic climate, environmental health, recreational opportunities, etc., and providing technical assistance to communities within the region.

By presenting a regional perspective on issues, regional councils promote intergovernmental cooperation and serve as a liaison between the State and federal governments and municipalities.

Regional Councils in New York State consist of nine locally created regional planning boards in New York State, and represents 45 of the State’s 62 counties. The regional councils in New York are as follows:

Table 3. Regional Planning Commissions and Councils
Council Participating Counties

Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, & Schenectady

Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board

Cayuga, Madison, Onondaga, & Oswego

Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council

Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, & Yates

Herkimer-Oneida Counties Comprehensive Planning Program

Herkimer & Oneida

Hudson Valley Regional Council

Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, & Westchester

Lake Champlain-Lake George Regional Planning Board

Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, & Washington

Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board

Chemung, Schuyler, & Steuben

Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board

Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Tioga, & Tompkins

Southern Tier West Regional Planning & Development Board

Allegany, Cattaraugus, & Chautauqua

Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Federal highway and transit statutes require, as a condition for spending federal highway or transit funds in urbanized areas, the designation of MPO’s which have responsibility for planning, programming and coordination of federal highway and transit investments.

While the earliest beginnings of urban transportation planning go back to the post-World War II years, the federal requirement for urban transportation planning emerged during the early 1960’s. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 created the federal requirement for urban transportation planning largely in response to the construction of the Interstate Highway System and the planning of routes through and around urban areas. The Act requires, as a condition attached to federal transportation financial assistance, that transportation projects in urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in population be based on a continuing, comprehensive, urban transportation planning process undertaken cooperatively by the states and local governments — the birth of the so-called 3C, “continuing, comprehensive and cooperative” planning process.

In New York State there are twelve MPO’s as follows:

  • Adirondack-Glens Falls Transportation Council

  • Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study

  • Capital District Transportation Committee

  • Executive Transportation Committee for Chemung County

  • Genesee Transportation Council

  • Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council

  • Herkimer-Oneida Transportation Study

  • Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council

  • Newburg-Orange County Transportation Council

  • New York Metropolitan Transportation Council

  • Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council

  • Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council

Regional Solutions through Intergovernmental Cooperation

Voter approval in 1959 of an amendment to the New York Constitution’s prohibition on gifts and loans of credit by one local government to another paved the way for general legislative authorization for local governments to participate in a wide variety of intermunicipal endeavors.[9] Article 5-G of the General Municipal law was soon enacted to provide municipal corporations and districts with the power to enter into cooperative or joint agreements between or among them to provide any function, power or duty that each has authority to undertake on its own.

The term “municipal corporation” includes counties (outside of New York City), cities, towns, villages, boards of cooperative educational services, fire districts and school districts. The term “district” includes certain county and town improvement districts;[10] therefore, a very large number and broad range of local government entities are authorized to undertake cooperative activities. Since these local governments are empowered to undertake together any activity each may undertake alone, the opportunity to use an intergovernmental agreement to provide services or projects is only limited by the powers of each participant.[11]

Undertaking a cooperative or joint venture is essentially a business arrangement, and Article 5-G provides substantial leeway for contracting parties to address the many issues that typically are addressed in a business arrangement. Generally, an intermunicipal agreement may contain “any matters as are reasonably necessary and proper to effectuate and progress the joint service” [12] and typically include:

  • a description of the joint service or project, an identification of the participants and the authority pursuant to which each will be undertaking the service or project;

  • descriptions of the roles of each of the participating entities, and the identification of the managing participant, if any;

  • fiscal matters, such as the method for allocating costs;

  • the manner for employing and compensating employees;

  • timetables and processes for contract review and renegotiation;

  • methods for dispute resolution during a contract term; and

  • responsibility for liabilities.

Agreements entered into pursuant to Article 5-G require the approval of a majority vote of the full strength of the governing body of each participating municipal corporation or district, unless the governing bodies have adopted mutual sharing plans which allow their respective officers or employees to undertake or authorize the receipt of a joint service in accordance with the plan. A mutual sharing plan can anticipate the potential need to obtain assistance from another eligible local government, either on a routine or extraordinary basis. It contemplates the “handshake” deal between cooperating local governments. Fashioning a cooperative agreement frequently necessitates the identification and resolution of many, sometimes complex, issues. Water, sewer and other joint construction projects will require resolution of design issues and permitting needs in addition to fiscal and operational matters. Participating local governments may choose to form joint committees charged with developing preliminary consensus through the development of recommendations to the involved governing bodies.

Some intermunicipal agreements require implementation through the adoption of complementary local laws. When a joint planning board is created, for instance, the participating local governments will need to adopt, in addition to the cooperative agreement, compatible local laws that reflect the existence of the joint planning board and provide its authority and responsibilities.

Intermunicipal agreements allow local governments to seek regional, and sometimes creative, solutions to common problems without giving up their underlying authority or jurisdiction. For this reason, they are popular vehicles for achieving cost savings or service improvements in a wide variety of ways. The following is a partial list of examples of topics that may be the subject of Intermunicipal agreements:

  • joint water and sewer projects;

  • garbage collection;

  • recycling centers;

  • highway maintenance;

  • snowplowing;

  • shared recreational and cultural facilities;

  • shared government offices;

  • computer/data processing;

  • joint purchasing;

  • shared code compliance personnel;

  • joint zoning boards;

  • joint land use planning activities;

  • joint economic development planning

  • coordinated assessment services; and

  • shared public safety functions.

1. 2006 Comptroller’s Report on the Financial Condition of New York State, Office of the State Comptroller.
2. Subsidiary of MTA or an agency under its jurisdiction
3. UDC, JDA, and part of NYS Science & Technology Foundation operate under a joint business certificate (D/B/A) using the name Empire State Development Corporation
4. Dormitory Authority took over operation of MCFFA and FDC, but they retain their separate legal status.
5. Inactive
6. Subsidiary of Housing Finance Agency
7. Laws of 1976, Chapter 39, as amended
8. 2006 Comptroller’s Report on the Financial Condition of New York State, Office of the State Comptroller.
9. Amendment to Article VIII, §1 of the New York State Constitution, approved by the electors in 1959; chapter 102 of the Laws of 1960 implemented this change.
10. General Municipal Law, §119-n(a) and (b).
11. General Municipal Law, §119-n(c).
12. General Municipal Law, section 119-o(2).

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