Aug 8, 2011

City-County Consolidation

In general city-county consolidation is a good idea, especially if the central city is declining in population and socio-economic base. Fewer governments are usually better and it is best if the rich and poor of a central city and its surrounding areas are in the same governemnt. The problems of the central city impact the impressions of the entire region.

It is much easier to do in many countries where the national government is very strong relative to local government and can merge communities easily. But politically it is very difficult to do. The residents of the unincorporated area and surrounding towns hate losing control and being merged with the central city. And many city residents feel the same.

The following is a good article on consolidation.

A concern about city-county consolidation

Mostly the writing about this, in Orfield's Metropolitics and Rusk's Cities without Suburbs and Inside Game, Outside Game, has been around cost savings through service consolidation and getting city access to greater property tax revenue streams that are typically generated by suburban areas compared to the generally declining property values that had typified the urban experience over the past 30-40 years.

Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star makes the point 

that Toronto's footprint, containing both the city and the suburbs, allowed conservative Rob Ford to win the mayoral election, because the suburban voters, more conservative than those in the city, tipped his way. From the article: 

("Toronto embarked on a civic, if not a civil, war")