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Old 07-25-2012, 10:47 PM
Location: I-20 from Atlanta to Augusta
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In states like Georgia there are 159 counties, do you think merging some of the counties will make some states more competitive.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:54 PM
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Make states more competitive... I don't know what you mean by this.

But that is a ridiculous amount of counties for one state. Hard to believe until I looked it up here; second most after Texas which is a much larger state.

Merging counties would probably cut administrative costs big time. In Georgia, if each county has their own jail; that in itself would be a big money saver by merging with 1 or more counties.

In California, we have a good amount of counties too. We have one (Alpine) that has just 1,175 people.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:18 AM
Location: Michigan
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I don't think it'd do much for Michigan. Plus ours are already somewhat neatly organized.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:48 AM
Location: Montgomery County, MD
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Merging counties makes so much sense that it will never happen. It's idiotic that some counties in America have less than 1000 people, they'd save so much combining resources.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:16 AM
Location: Jersey City
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In NJ we have 21 counties. But we're a "home rule" state, so the functions counties provide in many other states are provided at the municipal level in NJ. NJ has 565 municipalities. Each with its own mayor, council, most have their own police force, their own fire dept., public works, school system (though "regional" systems composed of 3-4 towns are common). I can't help but think we could reduce costs if counties provided those services instead. I believe in many cases Bergen County could procure goods and services for its 900,000 residents at a lower cost per unit than each of the 72 cities and towns within that county could on its own for its few thousand residents. Economies of scale.

Some municipalities are, reluctantly, looking into sharing services. Two municipalities decided to merge last year. I think the biggest hurtle is schools. Many folks from towns with the best school systems see no reason to merge with surrounding towns with "lesser" school systems.

I know this thread asks about counties instead of municipalities, but I think NJ's struggles with municipal consolidation is similar, but on a different scale.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:48 AM
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I believe there was talk about merging some counties in Nebraska but the problem is that these low population counties are also very large. If you merged two of them, people might have to drive for 2 or 3 hours just to go to a county government agency.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:28 PM
Location: Atlanta & NYC
6,620 posts, read 11,670,310 times
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159 counties? Holy crap.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:09 PM
Location: Washington DC
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Missouri, if I am not mistaken, has 114 counties. Kind of a ridiculous number. Good luck trying to merge them.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:16 PM
Location: Victoria TX
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The only county merger I've heard about recently is Worth County, Missouri, which was so small their administration was going broke, and there was talk of merging with an adjacent county. Missouri is also thinking about splitting the county in which Kansas City is located, into an urban and a rural county.

Two counties in South Dakota on Indian reservations have been disorganized, and still exist as counties, but their administration has been turned over to an adjacent county. Another SD county with a population of 23 (Armstrong) was abolished in the 1950s, and another disorganized completely later.

The reason for relatively small counties is to reduce the travel distance for people who have business in the county courthouse. Counties that have very small populations usually have a circuit judge that they share with other counties, bur he holds court in each county that has jurisdiction in his case.

Massachusetts , Connecticut and Rhode Island ahve already abolished counties, except as judicial districts for determinining where court cases are heard.

Most Americans have a strong sense of identity with their county, and are quite proud of it, and most southern states and a few others identify car license plates by county. In any case, if people like their county, there no justification in having outsiders wanting to change them because their maps look funny or anything.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:44 PM
Location: Pacific NW
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Yes. Counties were created based on a day's travel to get to the courthouse, using the method of transportation of the day. That's why counties get larger as you go to the west.
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