As the name suggests, a joint powers agreement (JPA) is an agreement between two or more governmental entities to collaborate and exercise their powers jointly. This type of agreement is used when two or more entities have a shared interest or need, and by working together, they can achieve their goals more effectively and efficiently.

Joint powers agreements can take many forms, ranging from simple partnerships between two municipalities to more complex organizations that oversee regional services such as transportation, emergency management, or economic development.

One of the most significant benefits of JPA is that it allows the participating entities to leverage their resources and expertise to achieve outcomes they could not reach individually. For example, a small town might lack the resources to operate its own fire department, but by forming a JPA with neighboring municipalities, they can pool their resources and create a joint fire department that serves all the participating communities.

Another key advantage of JPA is that it allows members to share the risks and costs associated with a particular project or service. By sharing the burden, the financial impact on each entity is reduced, and the project can be implemented more efficiently.

It is important to note that JPAs are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Each agreement is unique and tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the participating entities. The terms of the agreement must be negotiated and agreed upon by all members, with each entity retaining its own sovereignty and control over its affairs.

JPA is an increasingly popular option for local governments, particularly in the areas of public safety, transportation, and economic development. By working together, these entities can leverage their resources and expertise to tackle complex challenges and achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively.