The rennaissance of the small towns
Hi Chris and team,
Thank you for your site and views. I just wanted to tell you that you inspired me to get off my rear end and do something. I have created a website to create awareness and deal with some local problems http://www.thornburypatriot.org Of particular interest would be the first editorial. Comments are welcome as I try to get the message across. Many people here just do not believe there is a serious economic problem. Local government is not helping. They are expanding and spending while suppressing local business. I have decided to finance this myself as a meaningful contribution to the community.
Hope it helps raise awareness instead of them raising taxes.
You might find this of interest. Take care
As the recession batters city budgets around the U.S., some municipalities are considering the once-unthinkable option of dissolving themselves through "disincorporation."
Benefits of this move vary from state to state. In some cases, dissolution allows residents to escape local taxes. In others, it saves the cost of local salaries and pensions. And residents may get services more cheaply after consolidating with a county.
An empty parking lot at an out-of-business store in Vallejo, Calif., a city that filed for bankruptcy-court protection.
In Mesa, Wash., a town of 500 residents about 250 miles east of Portland, Ore., city leaders have initiated talks with county officials about the potential regional impact of disincorporating. Mesa has been hit by a combination of the recession and lawsuits that threaten its depleted coffers, leaving few choices other than disincorporation, said Robert Koch, commissioner of Franklin County, where Mesa is located.
Two California towns, Rio Vista and Vallejo, have said they may need to disincorporate to address financial difficulties; Vallejo filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Civic leaders in Mountain View, Colo., have alerted residents that they are left with few options but to disincorporate because the town can’t afford to pay salaries and services.
Incorporation brings residents a local government with the ability to raise money through taxes and bond issuances. It also gives them more control of zoning decisions and development, and usually provides for local services such as trash pickup and police as well.
An American Town Ponders Life Without GM
A small town in New York faces a future with possibly no GM car dealerships. Townspeople are rallying around their car dealers, who they say are ingrained in their community. WSJ’s Andy Jordan reports from Port Jervis, N.Y.
Dissolving a town government, on the other hand, often shifts responsibility for providing services to the county or state. A city’s unexpired contracts usually remain binding, and residents are still obligated to pay off any debt.
But long-term commitments such as pension liabilities and day-to-day services such as sewage and water can be folded into services run by the county, public-policy experts say.
Disincorporations are rare, usually resulting from population declines that leave too few residents to support the government. The most recent in California occurred in 1972, when stalled growth and political instability led Cabazon to dissolve itself, according to the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. In Washington state, the last one occurred in 1965, when Elberton gave up its autonomy after 70 years, according to the nonprofit Municipal Research and Services Center in Seattle.
Today, some small municipalities are exploring the step to escape some financial burdens that have been exacerbated by the recession.
Rio Vista says disincorporating would eliminate 38 jobs and shift its sewer services to the county. Vallejo says disincorporating would end public-safety-employee contracts, which city leaders blame for pushing the city into bankruptcy.
“ Interesting perspective, reducing government spending by eliminating government. ”
— Octavio Lima
Most talk of disincorporation appears to be exploratory, and some public-finance experts say towns may not have that option if it is being used to unload financial obligations. "This is somewhat of a legal gray area, because disincorporation was not designed to allow cities to escape financial hardship," said John Knox, a public-finance consultant with the San Francisco office of law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Mr. Knox, a bankruptcy consultant to Vallejo, said shifting oversight of a city’s services to a county or state during the current economic environment would be a tall order. In California and many other states, the county or state must approve such a move, he said. Most counties are ailing as badly as cities, and are unlikely to readily approve a disincorporation, he said.