Consolidated city-county

Consolidated city-county

In American 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. This is distinct from an "independent city", which is a city that is not deemed by its state to be located within the boundaries of any a state's counties; but is recognized by the state as a separate legal territorial entity, distinct from its surrounding or ajoining counties. However, an independent city can also result from the consolidation of a city and a county. The highest concentration of large consolidated city/county governments in the United States is in the lower midwest and upper south, where Indianapolis, Indiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Kansas City, Kansas; and Lexington, Kentucky are located.


Individual sections of a metropolitan or regional municipality may retain some autonomous jurisdiction apart from the city-wide government. New York City, for example, consists of five counties/boroughs, each of which retains certain local powers through their own borough councils and presidents.

England has six "metropolitan counties" created in 1974: Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands, and West Yorkshire. From 1986, they 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, Glasgow and Edinburgh 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; Austria, where the capital of Vienna is a both city and state; and South Korea, where Seoul is a "Special City."

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.

Often, in place of another level of government, municipalities form coalitions — essentially governmental organizations which are not empowered with any lawmaking 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.


In seven consolidated city-county governments In the United States, the formerly independent incorporated places maintain some governmental powers. In these cities, which the Census Bureau 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." [ Population Estimates Geography] , United States Census Bureau, 2006-06-19. Accessed 2007-09-07.]

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
*Milford, Connecticut (not a consolidated city-county but the borough of Woodmont exists within the city limits)
*Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

List of consolidated city-counties

Consolidated since their creation

*Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska [ [ Website of the Municipality of Anchorage] ] (City and Borough are consolidated forming a unified government)
*City and County of Broomfield, Coloradocite web | date = December 1, 2004 | url = | title = Colorado Municipal Incorporations | format = HTML | publisher = State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives | accessmonthday = November 24 | accessyear = 2006] [ [ Website of the City and County of Broomfield] ] (Town of Broomfield incorporated June 1, 1961. Consolidated City and County of Broomfield created November 15, 2001, from the incorporated City of Broomfield in 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 [ [ Website of the County of Honolulu] ] (however, there are no "cities" or subcounty governments in Hawaii, thus the "City" designation in "City and County" is essentially meaningless; the U.S. Census defines Honolulu as only a fraction of the "City and County")
*City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska
*City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish, Louisiana (The City of New Orleans has always served as Orleans Parish's government, though they initially weren't coterminous. The city and parish have also annexed parts of neighboring Jefferson Parish.)
*City and County of San Francisco, California (city established before county's creation)
*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, 8 of Massachusetts' 14 county governments have been abolished.
*Washington, D.C. (The City of Washington used to be a separate municipality within the District of Columbia. An Act of Congress in 1871 created a single government for the entire federal territory, effectively merging the City and the District into a single entity.)


*Anaconda and Deer Lodge County, Montana [ [ Website of the Community of Anaconda] ]
*Butte and Silver Bow County, Montana
*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 [ [ Website of Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government] ]
*Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky [ [ Website of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government] ]
*Lynchburg and Moore County, Tennessee
*New York City, New York [ [ Official New York City Website] ] has been coextensive with an amalgamation of five counties since 1898, each of which is also a borough and more popularly known as such — some, however, with a differing name (in parentheses):
**New York County (Manhattan) (New York County alone was coextensive with New York City until 1898)
**Bronx County (The Bronx) (New York County included what is now Bronx County from 1898 until the latter's creation in 1916)
**Kings County (Brooklyn)
**Richmond County (Staten Island)
**Queens County (Queens)
*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.

Merged with some independent municipalities

*Athens and Clarke County, Georgia (one community entirely within Clarke County retains 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) [ [ Camden County Government - Board of Commissioners - February 10, 2006 ] ]
*Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana [ [ Website of 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 retain separate governments, including the cities of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach, and the Town of Baldwin; all other rural land is incorporated by Jacksonville, preventing any annexation by them)
*Kansas City and Wyandotte County, Kansas (this "Unified Government" contains Kansas City, Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, and roughly half of Lake Quivira; a county relationship is maintained with the rest of the communities within the county)
*Lafayette Parish, Louisiana and Lafayette (City of Lafayette retains separate city limits, and official census population only includes this area)
*Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky [ [ Website of Louisville Metro Government] ] (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 [ [ Greeley County residents pass unification] , "Garden City Telegram", 2007-11-07. Accessed 2007-11-08.] [ [ TRIBUNE | City and county to unify] Dead link|date=December 2007, "The Kansas City Star", 2007-11-07. Accessed 2007-11-08.]

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." [ [ Virginia Code § 15.2-3521] ] 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.

Potentially consolidated

*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. [ [ City and County of Aurora?] by J.C. O'Connell. "The Aurora Daily Sun & Sentinel", January 30, 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. [ [ Johnson-Wyandotte merger?] by Jesse Truesdale. "The" [Bonner Springs] "Chieftain", February 2, 2006.]
*In 2005, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio published a series of articles exploring the possibility of the city's merging with Cuyahoga County. [ [ A Region Divided] . Special series of "The" [Cleveland] "Plain Dealer", published throughout 2005.]
*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, possibly as early as 2010.

Considered consolidation

*Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, New Mexico]
*Buffalo and Erie County, New York [ [ One Buffalo] ]
*Charleston/North Charleston/Mount Pleasant and Charleston County, South CarolinaFact|date=February 2007
*Des Moines and Polk County, Iowa [ [ Frequently asked questions about the city-county merger] , from the Des Moines Register]
*Durham and Durham County, North Carolina [ NCSU Innovation Online] , by Diane Cherry]
*Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Indiana [ [ Both sides say Evansville-Vanderburgh County merger is possible] , by Thomas B. Langhorne. "Indiana Economic Digest", February 13, 2006]
*El Paso and El Paso County, Texas [ [ 79(R) SJR 9] in the Texas State Legislature]
*Fairbanks and Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska [ [] Alaska Division of Community Advocacy]
*Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana [ [ Debate stirs on consolidation] , by Benjamin Lanka. "The" [Fort Wayne] "Journal Gazette", March 5, 2006.]
*Frankfort and Franklin County, Kentucky [ [ Voters in Franklin and Frankfort counties, Ky., reject government merger. | Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Kentucky) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News) ) (November... ] ]
*Gainesville and Alachua County, Florida [ [ Microsoft Word - All CONSLDLS 2006bev _3_.doc ] ]
*Little Rock and Pulaski County, ArkansasFact|date=February 2008
*Macon and Bibb County, GeorgiaFact|date=February 2008
*Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee [ [ Business Backs Consolidated Government] , by Kate Miller. "Memphis Business Journal", March 15, 2002.]
*Fayetteville and Lincoln County, Tennessee (rejected in 2002 referendum)Fact|date=February 2007
*Montgomery and Montgomery County, AlabamaFact|date=February 2007
*Orlando and Orange County, Florida [ [ City of Orlando / Orange County Consolidation of Services Study Commission] ]
*Pensacola and Escambia County, Florida
*Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania held referendums in 1925 and 1929. Currently has a task-force researching consolidation since 2005. [ [ Town Meeting: Louisville mayor offers primer on uniting city-county government] , By Jeffrey Cohan. "Pittsburgh Post Gazette", October 1, 2004.]
*Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon
*Roanoke County, Virginia and Roanoke City, Virginia 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.Fact|date=February 2008
*Sioux Falls and Minnehaha/Lincoln counties, South DakotaFact|date=February 2008
*Tallahassee and Leon County, FloridaFact|date=February 2008
*Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida
*Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio [ [ Skepticism greets ‘Unigov’ summit] , by Tom Troy. The "Toledo Blade", March 4, 2004.]
*Topeka and Shawnee County, Kansas [ [ Shawnee County Government and Consolidation] , by Richard V. Eckert. 2005-05-02.]
*Wilmington and New Hanover County, North Carolina

Formerly consolidated

*The City of Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts operated with a consolidated government for most of the twentieth century, but this was not a true consolidation because three municipalities (Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop) never amalgamated with Boston but remained separate jurisdictions within Suffolk County. The special relationship between Boston and Suffolk County ended in 1999 as part of the gradual abolition of county government in that state.

External links

* [ Comparative of all city/county consolidations and the issues and advantages each model presents (from the Pittsburgh/Allegheny task force on consolidation)]


ee also

*Amalgamation (politics)
*Combined Statistical Area
*Consolidated city-state
*Independent city
*Megalopolis (term)
*Metropolitan area

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