1. #1
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000

    Default Local Government in the U.S., from the Division of Useless Trivia

    Found this browsing today:

    Figure 1-6, Government type.

    Four major styles of local governance in the U.S., named after area of origin:
    New England, a/k/a Massachussets: Strong Towns, weak to non-existent Counties

    New York: Towns & Counties relatively equal footing in division of duties

    Pennsylvania: Counties slightly favored, although Town(ships) do have some powers.

    Southern, a/k/a Virginia: Strong Counties, weak to non-existent Town(ship) government

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    EFD840's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Eclectic (no, NOT electric), Alabama

    Default Danged stereotypes!

    Not true Dal.

    In Alabama, the balance of power is firmly in the hand of the city/town with counties bringing up the rear.

    For example, except for a few of the major metropolitan areas, counties do not have home rule.

    Counties lacking home rule can not raise taxes without a referrendum and many of them even require approval of the state legislature before a countywide referrendum can be placed on the ballot.

    Municipalities can raise property and sales taxes merely by a vote of the council. There is a state-mandated cap on the property tax level that, once reached, requires a referrendum for any further increases but the city can vote to hold the referrendum without needing approval of the legislature.

    Counties w/o home rule can not enact zoning regulations whereas the smallest town can create zoning laws and regulate subdivisions up to 5 miles outside the city limits.

    Cities can abate property taxes as part of an industrial recruitment incentive package. So can the county, but if the city abates their share then the county tax is automatically abated whether the county commission likes it or not. The reverse isn't true, the county can abate county taxes but the city will still collect their share. Until 2000, a city could actually vote to abate COUNTY property taxes on new industrial property within the city limits and still collect the city tax.

    The county even has to maintain county roads that were annexed into cities prior to 1995. The city can agree to take over responsibility for the road but if that happens, they get to negotiate a fee to be paid to that city by the county to fund maintenance on that road. The road can be a town's main drag but the county has to pay to maintain it.

    Now, that's truly useless information!

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Unhappy Don't Forget

    Don't forget the part where the entire state population gets to vote on your counties' problems, such as allowing bingo, dog racing, horse racing or whether you can accept someone else's garbage at your landfill.
    Tim Newman
    Assistant Director
    Reno County Emergency Management
    Hutchinson, KS


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