Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Regionalism, or interlocal cooperation, is an important consideration for elected officials in the Bluegrass Area Development District. The reasons to join in a partnership and the suspected outcome are of great concern to the judge-executives and mayors but also to the communities they serve. In order to assist elected officials in their decision-making capacities, this study was designed to primarily analyze what factors lead to success in regional projects within the Bluegrass ADD. A secondary consideration was to look at when and why local governments enter into regional efforts.

A statistical analysis was performed on a sample of regional projects within the Bluegrass ADD using data from the ADD and surveys given to judge-executives and mayors. Descriptive statistics showed that rural or remote jurisdictions were highly likely to participate in regional projects. Regional cooperation is likely to occur when three or fewer communities are involved at the same time. Also, projects are highly likely to have an intermediary party involved such as the Bluegrass ADD for consulting, grant writing, or other support services.

Some factors were found to be statistically significant in relation to the success of regional projects. The number of jurisdictions involved in the project was highly significant to the level of success demonstrating a negative relationship. The variable showing grants received was also significant with a negative relationship. Whether or not a project resulted from a state or federal mandate also showed statistical significance displaying a positive relationship. Though these factors showed statistical significance, further research is needed to determine the fine detail involved in such partnerships to gain a full understanding of what leads to success and why.

Recommendations are made on the basis of these results and implications are discussed.

  • It is recommended, based on results of this analysis, that jurisdictions choosing to cooperate regionally do so when a small number of jurisdictions are involved in order to realize higher levels of success.

  • Pending further research, it may not be in the best interests of local governments to work together when the project deals with a state or federal mandate.

  • Based on the findings, local governments are encouraged to apply for grant funds since receipt of grant funds shows a greater likelihood of attaining a higher level of success.

  • Implications such as government mergers are noted as county and city boundaries are blurred and more regionalism takes place.

Although this research does not imply causality, it does provide interesting and thought provoking notions about why governments cooperate and when they may be successful in working together regionally.