Consolidating local government services

Pittsburgh (PA), Albuquerque (NM), Fort Wayne (IN), Buffalo (NY), Topeka (KS), Des Moines (IA) are among several areas that have recently tried and failed to win voter approval, or are considering city-county consolidation to secure cost savings.

Consolidation is the mechanism used to achieve economies of scale by reducing numbers of local government units.

To sweeten the appeal of the effort, New York City leaders offered leaders representing the subordinate regions of the enlarged city a voice in its affairs.

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Despite the fact that community boards were introduced in the post-1950s, the system itself has been bound by the La Guardia era reforms.

Baton Rouge-East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (late 1940s) By 1947, Baton Rouge was the first city and county to be consolidated in more than 40 years.

Being the largest unit in the area with the largest population by proportion, the larger unit is the one that also tends to benefit the most.

However, as the author Ester Fuchs noted in her work entitled Mayors and Money – which compares New York and Chicago - consolidated and federated regions fare better relative to the norm when fiscal conditions are adverse.

It was the first ‘modern’ style city-county consolidation, pioneering the two major innovations of the differential tax and service districts and the option for existing suburban cities to remain autonomous within the county.

Last modified 26-Aug-2018 22:12