As the country continues to stagger through a sluggish recovery towns and municipalities are disappearing from the U.S.
Amid a tough economy, a growing number of small municipalities have had to consider that most extreme of measures — dissolution — to cut costs for local residents. Ten states had fewer townships because of mergers and consolidations, which include dissolutions, between 2007 and 2012, the Census Bureau found in its preliminary 2012 Census of Governments, a count undertaken every five years.
Kansas had the most pronounced decline in recent years, the census found, from 1,353 in 2007 to 1,268 in 2012 — a loss of 85 municipalities.
"Fiscal strain on local governments has definitely been amplified by the foreclosure crisis that began in 2006, but local fiscal crisis has longer, deeper roots in falling local aid from federal and state governments since the 1980s, anti-tax measures passed in most states since the late 1970s," said Michelle Wilde Anderson, who published a study on towns dissolving in March.
Lack of growth in small communities with the rising cost of services and a shrinking tax base are some of the common issues found among municipalities considering dissolution. Many other towns in trouble also appeared when a certain industry was booming and if that goes away, so does the town's revenues, experts added.
Is this concerning or the elimination of unneeded layers of government in areasof the U.S.?