Consolidating local governments

The Department of State has prepared a number of resources to help communities better understand municipal mergers, consolidations, and dissolutions.The Reorganization of Local Government (PDF, 4 pages) Guide to the Reorganization of School Districts in New York State » Intergovernmental Cooperation » Legal Framework for Providing Local Government Services » (NYS Assembly) Villages dissolved since 1900 & incorporated since 1940 » More Resources and Publications » The New N. Multiple agencies, less efficiency Faulk and Hicks found government spending in Indiana's fragmented government was very inefficient.

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January 26, 2009 Consolidating local government agencies at the county level could reduce costs by an expected 2 million annually, says a new study by Ball State University.

"Local Government Reform in Indiana" finds that consolidating local governments as recommended in the Kernan-Shepard report would improve efficiency of various fire, police, sewerage and other services as well as reduce operational and administrative costs, said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER).

Nearly 25 percent of Illinois school districts serve just one school, and over one-third of all school districts have fewer than 600 students.

An additional layer of administration for these districts is inefficient.

"However, the savings could much be higher than we estimate if local government consolidation creates a better than average improvement in efficiency.

In the end, merging these overlapping agencies would provide taxpayers with improved services at a much lower cost." The study's findings focus on recommendations from the 2007 Kernan-Shepard Report by former Gov. Many of the report's suggestions have been included in legislation being considered during the current session of the Indiana General Assembly.

For example, after a set amount of time, townships and their associated counties that do not consolidate would lose financial support, or the township property tax levy would be incrementally reduced.

The authors believe the current economic climate will force Indiana lawmakers to take action on consolidation during the current session of the Indiana General Assembly.

For example, two towns may have determined that rather than exist as two separate municipal entities, consolidating into a single town would result in tax savings or service efficiencies.

Communities considering consolidation may be eligible for a Local Government Efficiency grant to assist with studying the feasibility of consolidation or to assist with the consolidation itself.

State government could create a consolidation transition fund that would authorize grants or the ability to increase a local tax to be used for economic development and transition purposes.