An intergovernmental agreement is any agreement that involves or is made between two or more governments to cooperate in some specific way.
Most intergovernmental agreements are made to upgrade services, consolidate resources and save money through economies of scale.
Intergovernmental agreements can be made between or among a broad range of governmental or quasi-governmental entities, such as two or more counties, two or more municipalities, a municipality and a school district, and a city and a university.
A typical intergovernmental agreement might involve a contract between two small cities to share police, fire and paramedic services.
Two counties agree to share library services, issuing a joint library card and swapping books back and forth. The full services of every library in the system are available to all card-holding residents of both counties.
Intergovernmental agreements can improve services, save money through economies of scale, and lead to a culture of inter-community cooperation in many areas.
Intergovernmental agreements, by consolidating resources, can reduce local control. This loss of some local control, combined with, in some cases, longer emergency response times, can produce a voter backlash, especially if not accompanied by commensurate local tax reductions.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images