Implications of Municipal Incorporation Activity in the USA
Newly incorporated municipalities (NIMs) can have dramatic consequences for the residents of the new municipality, as well as surrounding jurisdictions and citizenry. These consequences can impact fiscal matters, governance and representation, planning and/or the provision of public services. Fiscal challenges can revolve around the allocation of scarce resources and taxation. New municipalities mean a further balkanized political geography which can have impacts on governance and representation. Meanwhile, a myriad of planning-related items can also be impacted by new municipalities and can range from land use decisions to the provision of transportation facilities. Finally, the efficient and cost-effective delivery of public services is another issue that arises from the incorporation of new municipalities. While some communities decide to contract with existing service providers (e.g., Lakewood Plan cities), over time new cities often decide to provide their own services—thus duplicating services, which can lead to the inefficient use of taxpayer money. Unincorporated communities that wish to incorporate would be wise to explore the implications of their actions to themselves, as well as the surrounding region prior to formally incorporating. The issues raised by new cities are numerous, complex, and real.
KeywordsDuplication of services Fiscal implications Governance Planning Redistributive funds Service delivery
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