The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States

By Paul Studenski; Frank H. Sommer et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
RESULTS OF CITY-COUNTY SEPARATION AND CONSOLIDATION

In view of the emphasis often placed upon the economies which unification of city and county governments will accomplish, it is appropriate to consider first the financial results which have attended the adoption of the plans described in the two preceding chapters.


Financial Results

The financial consequences of the schemes of city-county separation or consolidation are difficult to trace, for in each instance factors have been present which had little if anything to do with the scheme per se and yet vitally affected the results. In fact, outside influences may have controlled.

In both San Francisco and St. Louis the tax rate and tax levy immediately dropped as follows:

Tax RateTaw Levy
Year beforeYear afterYear beforeYear after
adoption ofits adoptionadoption ofits adoption
the schemethe scheme
San Francisco1 3.85 2.30 $ 882,000 $ 497,000
St. Louis2 3.42 ½ 2.80 5,300,000 4,594,000

The reduction was due, first, to the elimination of the county tax and, in St. Louis, of a park tax of three quarters of a mill (.075 per cent); and second, to the direct tax limitations previously referred to ( San Francisco 1.25 per cent for local purposes other than debt charges.) Not only were the tax rates thus forcibly cut down but assessed valuations were also voluntarily reduced in both cases by the new consolidated governments.3

It would be too much to say, therefore, that these large reductions in taxes were due to economies naturally secured by consolidation of the city and county governments within the city lim

____________________
1
Figures taken from Bancroft, History of the Pacific States, Vol. XVIII. p. 755. Includes state tax which remained stationary.
2
Figures taken from the Mayor Message of 1881, p. XI, and Report of the City Comptroller, 1882, p. 5. Includes state tax.
3
Assessments In San Francisco fen from $32,076,000 In 1855-56 to $30,368,000 in 1856-57; and in St Louis from $179,708,768 In 1887 to $160,604,840 in 1881.

-205-

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