Date of Award

11-2016

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Program Name

Public Administration

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer

Abstract

When local governments form consortiums to jointly provide services within a specified region, prior research suggests that overall service costs can decrease as quality increases. Several studies have also found that regionalizing local wastewater services in such a manner is one area in which the economic benefits are especially rewarding. Despite these obvious advantages, however, prior research fails to identify reasons why regionalization is not more widely utilized among local public agencies. The current research attempts to fill this knowledge gap by investigating how Youngstown, Ohio and other similar local communities may eclipse some of the common non-economic barriers that inhibit the regionalization choice. By studying four cases across the nation in which regionalizing wastewater services has met with mixed results, data will be analyzed and measured via a regionalization evaluative continuum in order to produce a Regional Suitability Index that may be applied to Youngstown’s nagging problem of finding ways to provide affordable and sustainable wastewater services in the face of declining resources. Faced with formidable institutional and social challenges, the findings suggest that Youngstown is currently less than an ideal candidate for regionalization.

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