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Hampton Roads study recommends sharing services

Tuesday - 6/5/2012, 10:53am  ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Hampton Roads' three largest cities could save millions of dollars by sharing some services, according to a new study.

The study also says adopting a regional building permit could make the region more attractive to businesses. It was conducted by Management Partners, a consultant hired by the Hampton Roads Partnership.

According to the study, sharing services such as police and fire training and the use of heavy equipment could save Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach between $11.5 million and $15.1 million annually.

An additional $50 million could be saved if the cities and school divisions pool their employee health insurance plans.

Media outlets report that Norfolk and Virginia Beach councils were to receive briefings on a proposed shared services agreement Tuesday afternoon. A briefing for the Chesapeake City Council will be held June 12.

Virginia Beach City Councilman Glenn Davis said some fellow council members do not like the concept of regionalization.

"But gone are the days when you live, eat and work in just one city. This is one region," Davis said.

Chesapeake interim City Manager Ama Dwarkanath said his city is always willing to look for opportunities to save money, if the quality of service is not affected.

"If we can have both worlds yes, we are all for it," Dwarkanath said.

Norfolk City Councilman Barclay Winn said there has to be regional cooperation.

"There's no need for Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake to all have their own police firing ranges," he said. "Do we need a SWAT team or a riot squad in every city? Maybe, but in this economic climate, these are the kinds of questions we should be asking."

Hampton and Newport News did not participate in the study. The two cities have been working on the same concept. They also do not share a common border with the other cities, which would make sharing services more difficult, Newport News City Manager Neil Morgan said.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)