Sunday, January 04, 2009

2,562 2,561

A little bit of news from last week: Pennsylvania now has one fewer municipality. The Borough of West Alexander in Washington County merged with the township of Donnegal, officially leaving Pennsylvania with one fewer municipality. Not to worry, the merger leaves Pennsylvania with 2,561 municipalities. Also unaffected are 514 school districts and 1,728 special district governments. No need yet to set up a support group for displaced former local government officials.

I really wonder how many of those 2,561 municipalities really function much at all. Plenty have no police service, minimal services of any kind and minimal expenditures on even essential infrastructure. Years ago former County Controller Frank Lucchino explored an idea still virtually unheard of in Pennsylvania: the voluntary disincorporation of municipalities. Even if the law does make de jure disincorporation easy, I bet as a matter of what is actually happening on the ground, de facto disincorporation is happening.


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