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Learning from Abroad: Multi-Purpose Special Districts in British Columbia as a Possible Model for Governance Innovation for Local Governments in the United States, Working Paper Open Access

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Would regional districts or their equivalent work in the United States? The report considers several possible differences in setting that might affect transferability to regions in the U.S., including differences in institutional, legal, political, cultural, historical, and demographic contexts. The report concludes that the major contextual concerns are political in nature and particularly the fear local governments have of surrendering their autonomy and decision making to external institutions. However, it also emphasizes the voluntary nature of RDs and the ability of individual local governments to either opt in or opt out of each service delivery agreement provides a new and innovative feature that should greatly reduce a local government’s political reluctance. The report also notes that questions of membership, representation and voting rights and weights will have to be worked out on a region by region basis.

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