Local governments in Ohio have a number of opportunities to realize efficiencies and reduce costs through shared services. These include strategies that can be used to free fiscal resources for economic development efforts such as: recruiting businesses, developing potential workforces, Training existing workforces, investing in IT and data infrastructure, making transportation infrastructure improvements, and collecting government revenue.
The Regional Income Tax Agency (R.I.T.A.) was established by 38 communities in Northeastern Ohio in order to achieve efficiencies of scale and uniformity in the collection of municipal income taxes. Today, R.I.T.A. has 207 member communities 61 counties throughout Ohio. R.I.T.A. now serves over 850,000 taxpayers in communities with a combined population in excess of 1.7 million. R.I.T.A.'s membership also includes 12 joint economic development districts (JEDDs), one joint economic development zone (JEDZ), and one enterprise zone. Through people, processes, technology, and shared services, R.I.T.A. has achieved an efficiency that allows them to offer tax administrative services at a low cost.
Similar to other types of transactional components of government operations, revenue collection is one area that benefits from a collaborative approach. The increased economy of scale also allows for automation and the development of online access or software to further drive down transactional costs and increase the ease of use for staff and the public. In areas of tax collection, permitting and fees, regional and statewide opportunities exist to move the public out of line and online to drive down costs and increase ease of use by the public.
Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDDs) - These are cooperative agreements that can encourage economic development without modifying jurisdictional boundaries. JEDDs allow cities to extend services or infrastructure to outlying areas without annexing those areas. In return, cities are given a portion of the tax revenue generated by businesses that operate within the JEDD area.
Cooperative Economic Development Agreements (CEDAs) - Through CEDAs, municipalities and townships enter into agreements governing development activities in designated areas. They serve as contracts between groups and dictate which groups will provide which services and what types of compensation will be provided. This tool can also be used to provide tax exemptions or to dictate payments in lieu of taxes.
A significant collaboration and coordination effort has begun by the State of Ohio and through the development of the JobsOhio Network. This network creates the catalyst for local government collaboration in the area of Economic Development. Here is an overview of the network: