Achieving Economies of Scale
Regional government in Connecticut is in a unique position to help cities and towns acquire funding as well as services and goods at more competitive rates and/or greater value. By uniting together through regional bodies such as a Council of Governments, all the member municipalities benefit.
“It’s important to know that funds are available to us as a regional council that would not be available to the individual cities and towns. In addition, we have the economies of scale associated with having a centralized administrative function,” said Thomas A. Herrmann, First Selectman, Easton, CT, at a recent council meeting.
Some of the ways in which regional government can help local municipals achieve economies of scale are through bulk and volume capital purchases, distributed capital and operational costs and benefits, and development of standardized data, applications and training.
Currently, GBRC is working with member cities and towns to identify areas of need and develop plans at the regional level. Some of these areas include: development of a robust regional GIS system for mapping and emergency management (our next newsletter will focus on some of the details of this program), and natural hazard planning and mitigation to help reduce flood insurance costs. As other areas are identified, GBRC will continue to spearhead funding efforts such as grant writing to attain future services.
By enabling economies of scale through cooperative government, GBRC aims to help Connecticut better meet the challenges of today’s economy and environment.
CRS Cost Savings
The Greater Bridgeport region can expect to save between $378,000 and $2.5 million annually on flood insurance, depending on the level of planning and preventative mitigation conducted.
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FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS) allows for sliding scale savings as communities begin to engage in the natural hazard mitigation process. As the region begins to implement susaintable mitigation programs and projects, cost savings will increase.
Most major insurance carries also offer discounts to owners outside of flood hazard areas if the region has implemented programs according to CRS guidelines.
Natural Hazard Mitigation Workshops
with GBRC and the Nature Conservancy
Over the past year, GBRC has partnered with the Nature Conservancy to conduct natural hazard planning workshops with member cities and towns. To date, Bridgeport and Fairfield have participated.
“As we collectively move forward with our efforts to reduce the risks to people and nature from sea level rise and flooding along our rivers and coasts, we can never forget that our decisions before – and after storm events – directly affect the magnitude of future events,” said Dr. Adam Whelchel, Director of Science at The Nature Conservancy.
For natural hazard planning and proactive mitigation to be truly effective, it must be based on three guiding principles:
- Comprehensive and accurate impact and risk assessments of regional:
- Development of a broad base of possible solutions that takes into account benefits and costs; and
- Proper ranking of the solutions to ensure that right actions are taken to adequately prepare for future risk.
New planning objectives have evolved out of the natural hazard mitigation workshops:
- adjusting building codes and land use policy to accommodate flooding;
- incorporating nature-based solutions and green infrastructure to reduce risk;
- improving social services capacity and education; and
- factoring hazards and climate change into all critical infrastructure improvement and redevelopment plans.
Future workshops are being planned for this Fall.
“Above all we must remain optimistic and realize that taking action to reduce risk in a strategic way will increase the ﬂexibility of future decisions and more than likely avoid, versus delay, future costs. Future generations are counting on us to plan wisely and make those smart decisions today,” concluded Dr. Whelchel.