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 Administrative divisions of the state, created by state law  Known as parishes in Louisiana and boroughs in Alaska (not all areas of Alaska are organized.

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Presentation on theme: " Administrative divisions of the state, created by state law  Known as parishes in Louisiana and boroughs in Alaska (not all areas of Alaska are organized."— Presentation transcript:


2  Administrative divisions of the state, created by state law  Known as parishes in Louisiana and boroughs in Alaska (not all areas of Alaska are organized political units)  Virginia has independent cities in addition to counties  In New England, the county is a judicial circuit and government functions are performed at the city, town or township level

3  Generally provide the following functions:  Keep public records  Assess and levy property taxes  Maintain local roads  Administer local elections  Sheriff provides local law enforcement  Maintain criminal court and jail  Administer state welfare programs

4  All counties have elected councils or commissions (this occurs at the township level in some states)  Council or commission may exercise both legislative and executive functions.  Some also have a separately elected or appointed executive  Counties are more likely to elect council members in partisan elections, while cities are more likely to use nonpartisan

5  Under the Lords Proprietors (founders of the Province of Carolina), the Episcopal Church was the official church and the church parishes were used as organizing units of government.  Counties were established in 1785 as judicial districts, and the name “county” was returned by the Constitution of 1868.  There are now 46 counties in SC

6  County legislative delegation – the members of the General Assembly who represent a particular county  Traditionally, one senator per county (total of 46) and a number of representatives based on population (total of 124)  Prior to 1975, the county delegation, led by the senator, was the governing authority for the county, and the county’s governmental functions were funded by a “supply bill” authored by the delegation and passed by the General Assembly each year

7  Change to single-member districts which no longer conform to county lines (one senator per county violates equal population standards)  The legislative delegation system is still used, but it may include people who represent part of a county but don’t actually live there, e.g., Rep. Greg Delleney of Chester represents a district which includes southeastern York County and so he is a member of the YC legislative delegation even though non-resident

8  Article VIII of state Constitution (1973)  Local Government Act of 1975  Provides for structures of county government  County power to enact three types of taxes established in 1996  Temporary local-option one-cent sales tax to pay for capital projects (York County Pennies for Progress)  Accommodations tax for tourism-related projects  Hospitality tax (restaurant meals) for tourism purposes

9  County commission (ruled unconstitutional in 1975)  Each county has an elected council ranging from 2 to 12 members  Council (used in 7 counties)  Council has both legislative and executive power  Council-supervisor (5)  Supervisor elected countywide, is chair of the council and chief administrative officer of the county  Council-administrator (32)  Council-manager (2)  In both of these, the council hires/fires a professional to perform the executive functions of the county  In the manager form, the county auditor and treasurer may be appointed rather than elected; otherwise, council-administrator and council-manager are identical

10  Other elected county officials (in SC or elsewhere) may include  Sheriff  Attorney  Judge (Family Court, Probate Court, etc.)  Clerk of Court  Coroner  Treasurer  Auditor  Assessor

11  Granted a charter by the state to provide certain services to a defined geographic area; the charter limits and specifies their powers  Home Rule (originated in MO, 1875) gives cities power to adopt governmental forms and provide services as they see fit without state intervention  Generally provide the following functions within their areas:  Police  Fire  Street maintenance  Sewage  Sanitation  Parks and recreation

12  Commission or Council  Used by some cities in SC  In SC, council has 5, 7 or 9 members including the Mayor  Exercises both legislative and executive functions. The Mayor is a commission/council member but has no extra powers. Commissioners/council members supervise the operation of city government.  Council-Manager  Used by over 30 cities in SC, mostly larger ones  In SC, Mayor plus 4, 6 or 8 councilmembers  Council/commission chooses a professional city manager who administers the city government and reports to the council (who hire/fire him).  Generally found in medium-sized cities, where it’s easier for the manager to resolve conflicts.

13  Mayor-Council  Used in a majority of cities in SC  In SC, council has at least 4 members in addition to Mayor  Nationally, generally found in larger cities requiring stronger political leadership to resolve conflicts. The mayor may have authority over the city budget and personnel (hiring/firing)  Town meeting (not used in SC)  Direct democracy as still practiced in small towns in New England. The entire community participates in decision-making.

14  Political party organizations, generally Democratic  Found in large cities of the 19 th Century and early 20 th Century (existed in Chicago until the death of Mayor Daley in 1976)  Helped immigrants assimilate into their communities and find jobs in return for political support  Your ability to get city government employment was dependent on your work for the “machine” and support for its candidates  Winning elected officials hired supporters for city jobs – police, street sweepers, etc.  Frequent political corruption

15  The Progressive movement of the early 20 th Century replaced machines in many cities with professional city employees (civil servants hired on the basis of professional qualifications and not political connections)  Introduced nonpartisan and at-large elections to most cities, which weakened the power of the machines since they no longer controlled patronage and couldn’t elect their candidates out of city wards (electoral divisions).

16  Most cities now have nonpartisan municipal elections. This has not removed conflict over public policy; interest groups may replace parties as vehicles for the articulation of interests and political organization.

17  At-large officials (elected citywide) tend to focus more on the “big picture,” while district or ward officials (elected from a division of the city) tend to focus more on their neighborhoods  At-large elections have tended to disadvantage minority candidates, who are much more likely to be elected under district systems

18  Used as a remedy for discrimination in some areas  Each voter has as many votes as there are seats, but may cast those votes in any combination

19  Candidate A  Candidate B  Candidate C  Top two will be elected  Voter 1 has two votes (11)  Voter 2 has two votes (22)  Voter 3 has two votes (33)

20  Candidate A 1 3 3  Candidate B 1 2  Candidate C 2  Top two will be elected  Voter 1 has two votes (11)  Voter 2 has two votes (22)  Voter 3 has two votes (33)  Voter 1 casts one vote for A and one for B  Voter 2 casts one vote for B and one for C  Voter 3 casts two votes for A

21  Annexation: Absorption of adjoining areas into the city – provides those residents with city services but also with higher taxes. Annexation is extremely difficult in South Carolina. City leaders see it as a good way to expand the city’s tax base. May dilute minority political influence in the city if the annexed areas are predominantly white.  Consolidation: A group of overlapping governmental units (county, cities, school districts) become a single unit.

22  In geographically smaller areas like the New England states, towns or townships may provide the services of counties and cities in larger areas.  In the New England states, counties have no separate government, they’re just map designations. The same is true of townships in South Carolina.

23  The goal is to rid metropolitan areas of ineffective local jurisdictions and fragmented authority. If different units of government provide services (city, county, school district) to overlapping but not identical areas, it’s hard for people to hold their government accountable.  Economies of scale: A larger jurisdiction serving more people may be able to provide services at a lower cost per person.  Policy coordination

24  Economic model developed by Charles Tiebout: “Vote with your feet” and move to an area that provides you with the best combination of services you want. Governments “compete” for your “business” as private enterprises do.  This is not possible if there’s only one consolidated government entity.  Fragmented government (non-consolidated) may be closer to the people it serves.

25  If wealthier residents can “vote with their feet” and move to the suburbs or other areas, but poorer residents can’t, the center city is emptied of wealth while the suburbs get wealthier (think of a donut)  This promotes crime and other social problems within the center city, which further accelerates flight to the suburbs

26  Water and sewer for a particular area  School districts  K-12 education

27  46 counties  269 municipalities  85 school districts (down from 1221 in 1952)  310 special districts (police, fire, garbage collection, water and sewer, parks and recreation)

28  Voter turnout in municipal elections is significantly lower than in national elections  Nonpartisan elections have lower turnout because many voters use party as a voting cue  Most municipal elections are held at different times than national elections (odd-numbered years)  Traditionally, center cities have been Democratic and suburbs Republican, but trends may be changing (suburban voters are becoming more socially liberal in many areas)

29  Progressive reform movement separated government administration from “politics”  Hired by council, accountable to them, can be fired by them  Professional, non-political administrator, may not be a resident of the city at the time of appointment  Career path is frequently to move on to manage a bigger city  Supervise city bureaucracy and personal staff  Manager may be more important in cities with part-time mayor and council members  City Manager of Rock Hill is David Vehaun, Winthrop Class of 1986.

30  Housing  Transportation (highways, mass transit)  Economic development – development of industry, jobs, tax base  Planning and zoning: Public regulation of property use  How the local government regulates the use of your land significantly affects its value, but cities are not required to compensate property owners for loss of value caused by zoning restrictions

31  Eminent domain: Fifth Amendment to US Constitution prevents taking private property for public use without “just compensation”  Ordinarily, private property was taken by government only for explicitly public use such as highways  Kelo v. City of New London [CT] (2005): US Supreme Court upheld the city’s condemnation of a property in order to sell it to a private developer who would increase its value to the city – this enhanced value justified the city’s actions

32  Suburbs tend to have larger proportions of white population, center cities larger proportions of minority populations (7% vs. 22%)  Suburban populations tend to be wealthier, better- educated  Problems of center cities: crime, violence, lack of jobs, inadequate educational facilities, poverty, substandard housing  All of these present challenges for local governments to deal with  Middle-class flight to the suburbs has only exacerbated these problems within the center cities  People who can’t leave are the less-well educated with fewer skills and options

33  Suburban populations tend to be able and willing to pay higher taxes for better schools  Center cities spend considerably more per capita on social programs for poverty populations (e.g., housing subsidies)

34  Suburbs grew up after WWII – more cars and highways, no longer necessary to live within walking distance to work  Unplanned, uncontrolled growth, particularly of suburban areas  Infrastructure challenges: traffic (lots of single- occupant vehicles instead of mass transit), utilities, availability of land, water, sewer  Environmental consequences

35  Restrictions on growth  Zoning laws  Subdivision control projects  Utility regulations  Building permits  Environmental regulations  Restrictions on uses, development or strip malls  Opposition to street widening or provision of utilities  Growth restrictions inflate the value of existing homes and hurt the poor by restricting availability of affordable housing and limiting the number of jobs (construction, etc.) created by development

36  Thoughts for discussion: What are the policy consequences of greater proportions of minorities (primarily African-Americans, Hispanics) and women serving in positions of authority in local government?

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