The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States

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

CHAPTER V
ANNEXATIONS AND CONSOLIDATIONS--PROCEDURE

The integration of government thus far effected in metropolitan areas has been attained almost wholly through annexation of territory to the central city or by consolidation of independent communities with it. By these means the boundaries of the principal cities, and frequently of minor centers, have been extended, the number of civil divisions in the area has been reduced, and unified control within the area has been expanded.

Often annexations have been made in piecemeal fashion and without thought of integrating the government on a metropolitan basis. Sometimes however, they have been effected on large scales with the definite purpose of attaining government unity. Apparently piecemeal annexations are as a rule prompted by purely local considerations. Yet, although the fact may not be realized by those who lead the annexation movement, factors of a metropolitan order are involved. Such annexations, though accomplished fragment by fragment, may result in unification of government in a substantial part of the region.

The terms "annexation" and "consolidation" are not identical. "Annexation" implies a simple addition of territory, whether previously incorporated or not, to a local governmental unit. It is the absorption of one community by another. "Consolidation" involves the merger of two or more political units and the surrender by each of some or all of its power to a new consolidated government. In annexation a smaller community is merged with a greater community. A larger but not essentially different political unit results. Consolidation gives birth to a new common government to which the component parts adjust themselves. The legal principles and procedure are, however, much the same, and in this chapter annexations and consolidations will be discussed together. City-county consolidation, which involves the union of two distinct types of local government, will be reserved for later treatment.

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