Administrative divisions of the United States First level States
Second level County
— Independent city
Third level Cities, towns and villages
In United States local government, a consolidated city–county is a city and county that have been merged into one unified jurisdiction. As such it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal corporation, and a county, which is an administrative division of a state. It has the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities.
A consolidated city-county is different from an independent city, although the latter may result from consolidation of a city and a county and may also have the same powers as a consolidated city-county. An independent city is a city not deemed by its state to be located within the boundary of any county, and recognized by its state as a legal territorial entity separate from surrounding or adjoining counties. The Midwest and Upper South have the highest concentration of large consolidated city–county governments in the United States, including Indianapolis, Indiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Kansas City, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; and Denver, Colorado.
England has six "metropolitan counties" created in 1974: Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands, and West Yorkshire. From 1986, these metropolitan counties do not have county councils but rather joint boards for certain functions. Modern unitary authorities are similar, and are known as county boroughs in Wales. In Scotland, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are functionally "independent cities", though the term is not used.
Similar arrangements exist in other countries such as Germany, where Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg are both cities and states. Nearly every larger city in Germany is a consolidated city–county, like Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich or Dresden; Austria, where the capital of Vienna is both a city and state; France, where the capital city of Paris has been coterminous with the département of Paris since 1968; and South Korea, where Seoul is a special city, while six other cities (Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon, and Ulsan) are metropolitan cities. Additionally, the Australian Capital Territory government in Australia performs all municipal functions of the city of Canberra, and thus functions as an integrated city–territory. Similarly, the City of Tokyo merged with the prefecture to form Tokyo metropolis in 1943.
According to information compiled by former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk, 105 referendums were held in the United States between 1902 and 2010 to consider proposals to consolidate cities and counties. Only 27 of these proposals were approved by voters.
Wyandotte County, Kansas, uses the term "unified government" to refer to its consolidation with Kansas City, Kansas, and most of the towns within the county boundaries in which some cities and towns remain separate jurisdictions within the county. Individual sections of a metropolitan or regional municipality may retain some autonomous jurisdiction apart from the city-wide government.
Often, in place of another level of government, municipalities form coalitions[original research?] – essentially governmental organizations which are not empowered with any law-making or law enforcement powers. This is the case in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) studies and makes recommendations on the impact of all major construction and development projects on the region, but generally cannot stop them. The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) is a true government agency of the state of Georgia, and does control some state transportation monies to the cities and counties, but otherwise has very little authority beyond this small power of the purse.
The case of New York City is unique, in that the city consists of five boroughs, each of which is co-extensive with a county. The boroughs retain some individual functions within the city government, but the counties are essentially merely administrative divisions. The city as currently constituted was created in 1898 by the consolidation of the independent cities of New York (i.e. Manhattan) and Brooklyn with Queens and Richmond (Staten Island) counties and a part of Westchester County which became The Bronx.
In seven consolidated city–county governments In the United States, the formerly independent incorporated places maintain some governmental powers. In these cities, which the Bureau of the Census calls "consolidated cities", statistics are recorded both for the entire consolidated government and for the component municipalities. A part of the consolidated government is called the "balance", which the Census Bureau defines as "the consolidated city minus the semi-independent incorporated places located within the consolidated city".
These consolidated cities are:
- Athens–Clarke County, Georgia
- Augusta–Richmond County, Georgia
- Butte-Silver Bow, Montana
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Jacksonville-Duval County, Florida
- Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky
- Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee
List of consolidated city-counties
Consolidated since their creation
- Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska (City and Borough are consolidated forming a unified government)
- City and County of Broomfield, Colorado (Town of Broomfield incorporated June 1, 1961. Consolidated City and County of Broomfield created November 15, 2001, from the incorporated City of Broomfield and portions of Boulder, Adams, Jefferson, and Weld Counties.)
- City and County of Denver, Colorado (Denver City, Colorado Territory, incorporated November 7, 1861. Denver served as the Arapahoe County Seat until November 15, 1902, when Arapahoe County was split into the new consolidated City and County of Denver, the new Adams County, and the renamed South Arapahoe County.)
- City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii
- City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska
- Municipality and County of Los Alamos, New Mexico
- City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish, Louisiana (The City of New Orleans has always served as Orleans Parish's government, though they initially were not coterminous. The city and parish have also annexed parts of neighboring Jefferson Parish.)
- City and County of San Francisco, California (The City of San Francisco was the seat of San Francisco County until 1856, when the county was split into the consolidated City and County of San Francisco in the north, with the remainder of old San Francisco County becoming the new County of San Mateo.)
- City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska
- City and Borough of Yakutat, Alaska
- Town and County of Nantucket, Massachusetts (one and the same since it was separated from Dukes County, New York to join the colony of Massachusetts). It should be noted that in New England a town serves the same municipal functions as a city. Contrary to city–county consolidation, eight of Massachusetts' 14 county governments have been abolished.
- Anaconda and Deer Lodge County, Montana
- Butte and Silver Bow County, Montana
- Carson City and Ormsby County, Nevada
- Columbus and Muscogee County, Georgia
- Cusseta and Chattahoochee County, Georgia
- Georgetown and Quitman County, Georgia
- Hartsville and Trousdale County, Tennessee
- Houma and Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana
- Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky
- Lynchburg and Moore County, Tennessee
- Philadelphia and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — Their borders have been conterminous since 1854, and the government structures were consolidated in 1952. The county still exists as a separate entity within Pennsylvania, but the functions of the county are generally administered by the city.
- Statenville and Echols County, Georgia
- New York City, New York has been coextensive with an amalgamation of five counties since 1898, each of which is also a borough and more generally known as such:
- Washington, D.C. – While the District of Columbia is a federal district and not a county, the city has had a consolidated municipal government since 1871
Merged with some independent municipalities
- Athens and Clarke County, Georgia (one community entirely within Clarke County and another partially within the county retain a separate government)
- Augusta and Richmond County, Georgia (two communities within Richmond County retain separate governments)
- Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (City of Baton Rouge retains separate city limits, and official census population only includes this area)
- Camden County, North Carolina (county with no incorporated municipalities, apart from a small portion of Elizabeth City, re-organizing into a single unified government)
- Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana (four communities within Marion County retain separate governments: see Unigov)
- Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida (four incorporated places within Duval County - the cities of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach and the town of Baldwin - retain separate governments; all other rural land is incorporated by Jacksonville and so the entire county is incorporated)
- Kansas City and Wyandotte County, Kansas (this "Unified Government" contains Kansas City, Edwardsville, most of Bonner Springs, and roughly half of Lake Quivira; a county relationship is maintained with the rest of the communities within the county)
- Miami and Miami-Dade County, Florida operate under a federated two-tier government similar to consolidated city-county relationship where the county government operates as a superseding entity of county affairs and lower-tier incorporated municipalities operate civil and community services
- Lafayette Parish, Louisiana and Lafayette (The status of the current state of consolidation is under review by an independent board. Deconsolidation, reorganization and total incorporation are all being considered as other towns in the parish as well as citizens in the unincorporated areas feel they are being under-represented under the current state of consolidation.)
- Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky (all cities in pre-merger Jefferson County, other than Louisville, retain separate identities and some governmental functions, but all participate fully in the county-wide governing body, Louisville Metro Council)
- Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (seven communities within Davidson County retain separate governments, although all participate in the metropolitan government in a two-tier system)
- Tribune, Kansas and Greeley County, Kansas (Horace retaining a separate government), to be implemented in 2009
Five cities in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia were formed by the consolidation of a city with a county: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach (from Norfolk, Elizabeth City, Warwick, Nansemond, and Princess Anne counties, respectively). However, in each case an independent city was created and as such they are not consolidated city-counties. Instead, the Code of Virginia uses the term "consolidated city." Similarly, Carson City was consolidated with Ormsby County, Nevada in 1969, but the county was simultaneously dissolved. The city is now a municipality independent of any county.
- Aurora, Colorado, split between three counties, explored the creation of a new consolidated city-county in 1996; the effort subsequently failed in a referendum. However, five years later nearby Broomfield was successful in creating a new city-county from portions of the four counties it had been a part of. Encouraged by Broomfield's experience, an Aurora city councilman has proposed consolidation again in 2006. This was not accomplished in the 2006 or 2007, and no bills to accomplish consolidation were introduced in the 2008 session of the Colorado legislature.
- A proposal has been made to merge Johnson County, Kansas and Wyandotte County, Kansas and the cities located in those two into a single consolidated city-county, name to be determined.
- In 2005, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio published a series of articles exploring the possibility of the city's merging with Cuyahoga County.
- Miami-Dade County, Florida provides city-level police, fire-rescue, sanitation, and other services to many of the municipalities within its borders.
- A report was released in April 2008 recommending the merger of the governments of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and that of Allegheny County. This plan has been endorsed by the mayor of Pittsburgh and the Chief Executive of Allegheny County, but needs approval by the City and County councils and from the state legislature before a referendum can be put forth for the voters to approve such a merger.
- The independent City of St. Louis, Missouri and that of St. Louis County. The city of St. Louis seceded from St. Louis County in the 1870s and is not part of any county in the state of Missouri. The city has since tried to rejoin the county several times, each time rejected by county voters.
- Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, New Mexico (1959, 2003)
- Aurora and Arapahoe County, Colorado
- Birmingham and Jefferson County, Alabama (1948)
- Brunswick and Glynn County, Georgia (1969, 1987)
- Buffalo and Erie County, New York
- Charleston/North Charleston/Mount Pleasant and Charleston County, South Carolina (1974)
- Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina(1971)
- Des Moines and Polk County, Iowa (1994)
- Durham and Durham County, North Carolina (1961, 1974)
- Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Indiana (1974)
- El Paso and El Paso County, Texas
- Fairbanks and Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska (2001)
- Fayetteville and Lincoln County, Tennessee (2008)
- Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana
- Frankfort and Franklin County, Kentucky
- Gainesville and Alachua County, Florida (1990)
- Knoxville and Knox County, Tennessee (1959, 1978, 1996)
- Little Rock and Pulaski County, Arkansas
- Macon and Bibb County, Georgia (1933, 1960, 1972, 1976)
- Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee (1962, 1971, 2010)
- Miami and Dade County, Florida (1948, 1953)
- Montgomery and Montgomery County, Alabama
- Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana
- Oakland and Alameda County, California (1921)
- Orlando and Orange County, Florida
- Pensacola and Escambia County, Florida (1970)
- Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
- passed referendums in 1925 and 1929 that were blocked by technicalities. Currently has a task-force researching consolidation since 2005.
- Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon (1927, 1974)
- Richmond (independent city) with Henrico County, Virginia (1961)
- Roanoke County, Virginia and the City of Roanoke
- held referendums in 1969 and 1990 to consolidate the two governments. Both times, city voters approved consolidation while county voters were opposed. The independent city of Salem, Virginia, which would have been surrounded by the consolidated entity, did not participate in the referendums. Vinton, Virginia would have retained its status as a town in the 1990 referendum. The consolidation issue has been dormant since 1990.
- Sacramento and Sacramento County, California (1974, 1990)
- St. Louis (independent city) with St. Louis County, Missouri (1926, 1962)
- Sioux Falls and Minnehaha/Lincoln counties, South Dakota
- Spokane and Spokane County, Washington (1995)
- Tallahassee and Leon County, Florida (1971, 1973, 1976, 1992)
- Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida (1967, 1970, 1972)
- Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
- Topeka and Shawnee County, Kansas (2005)
- Wilmington and New Hanover County, North Carolina (1933)
- The City of Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts operated with a consolidated government for most of the twentieth century with Boston providing office space, auditors, budget, personnel and financial oversight for Suffolk County. This was not a true consolidation because three municipalities – Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop – were never annexed into Boston and remained separate jurisdictions within Suffolk County; however, the county was in control of the City of Boston by law. The special relationship between Boston and Suffolk County ended in 1999 as part of the gradual abolition of county governments statewide with all county employees and powers transferred to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts control. The only remaining powers and duties for the City of Boston in regards to the county is regarding the Suffolk County Register of Deeds where the city council issues the ceremonial oath of office as well as calls for a meeting to hold a special election to fill the office should there be a failure to elect someone to the office or a vacancy occurs.
- ^ Kate Linebaugh, Threats to Town Halls Stir Voter Backlash, Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2011
- ^ a b Population Estimates Geography, United States Census Bureau, 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- ^ Website of the Municipality of Anchorage
- ^ a b "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/muninc.html. Retrieved November 24, 2006.
- ^ Website of the City and County of Broomfield
- ^ Website of the County of Honolulu
- ^ 
- ^ Website of the Community of Anaconda
- ^ Website of Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government
- ^ Website of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z City-County Consolidation Proposals, 1921 - Present, National Assocation of Counties. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- ^ Official New York City Website
- ^ Camden County Government - Board of Commissioners - February 10, 2006
- ^ Website of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana
- ^ Website of Louisville Metro Government
- ^ Greeley County residents pass unification, Garden City Telegram, 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
- ^ "City and county to unify". The Kansas City Star. 2007-11-07.
- ^ Virginia Code § 15.2-3521
- ^ City and County of Aurora? by J.C. O'Connell. The Aurora Daily Sun & Sentinel, January 30, 2006.
- ^ Johnson-Wyandotte merger? by Jesse Truesdale. The [Bonner Springs] Chieftain, February 2, 2006.
- ^ A Region Divided. Special series of The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer, published throughout 2005.
- ^ St. Louis Five-Year Consolidated Plan Strategy 2006-2010
- ^ a b c d e f "Some Major City-County Consolidation Referenda in the 20th Century". http://www.briem.com/frag/CityCountyReferenda.htm.
- ^ One Buffalo[dead link]
- ^ a b NCSU Innovation Online, by Diane Cherry
- ^ Both sides say Evansville-Vanderburgh County merger is possible, by Thomas B. Langhorne. Indiana Economic Digest, February 13, 2006
- ^ 79(R) SJR 9 in the Texas State Legislature
- ^ Alaska Division of Community Advocacy
- ^ "Voters reject metro government in Lincoln Co.". WATE. 2008-02-08. http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?s=7844932&clienttype=printable. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
- ^ Debate stirs on consolidation, by Benjamin Lanka. The [Fort Wayne] Journal Gazette, March 5, 2006.
- ^ Kirby, Cassondra (November 3, 2004). "Article: Voters in Franklin and Frankfort counties, Ky., reject government merger.". AccessMyLibrary. Lexington, KY: Lexington Herald-Leader. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-7156071_ITM. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- ^ Microsoft Word - All CONSLDLS 2006bev _3_.doc
- ^ The Effects on City-County Consolidation
- ^ a b c d e CONSOLIDATION OF CITY AND COUNTY GOVERNMENTS: ATTEMPTS IN FIVE CITIES. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- ^ Business Backs Consolidated Government, by Kate Miller. Memphis Business Journal, March 15, 2002.
- ^ Consolidation: Memphis suburbs' rejection of merger 'loud and clear'
- ^ Muncie & Delaware County Reorganization Committee
- ^ City of Orlando / Orange County Consolidation of Services Study Commission
- ^ Town Meeting: Louisville mayor offers primer on uniting city-county government, By Jeffrey Cohan. Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 1, 2004.
- ^ Skepticism greets ‘Unigov’ summit, by Tom Troy. The Toledo Blade, March 4, 2004.
- ^ Shawnee County Government and Consolidation, by Richard V. Eckert. 2005-05-02.
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