Municipal water consumption patterns of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada

“It has been shown in this study that an increase in price will create a reduction in the cubic meters of water consumed per customer in a significant way. However it also shows that consumers are very price inelastic when it comes to the consumption of water and it will take a large change in price for consumers to alter their consumption patterns. It has also been shown in this study that as employment increases water consumption increases albeit in an insignificant manner.”

K. White | 2011 | Environmental Science,

Structural Reform: Municipal Mergers

“Structural reorganization using municipal mergers is a common form of local government reform. This chapter examines both the theoretical literature and associated empirical work on council consolidation. After briefly discussing the magnitude of amalgamation across the world, this chapter considers the various schools of thought on council consolidation before examining specific dimensions of local government, including scale economies, scope economies, interjurisdictional spillovers, economic development, administrative and strategic capacity and local democracy.

Given the various theoretical expectations of the impact of amalgamation, this chapter then considers available empirical evidence on scale and scope economies, interjurisdictional externalities, economic growth, administrative capacity as well as local democracy. This chapter ends by concluding that the weight of empirical evidence indicates that municipal mergers have not met anticipations.”

B. Dollery, H. Kitchen, M. McMillan, Anwar Shah | 2020 | Economics,

Municipal amalgamation: The impact on economic development in Chatham-Kent

“A series of municipal amalgamations that took place in the 1990s in Ontario, which were justified as a means to “reduce the size of government and to promote economic development” (Sancton, 2000). However, it is unclear if the latter goal has been met. This paper will discuss the impact of amalgamation on economic development using the Chatham-Kent experience as a case study.

An analysis of the impacts reveals that the amalgamation process was tumultuous and resulted in a loss of significant institutional intelligence. However, it also forced the new entity to review its economic development approach; the investment in strategy development, resource mapping, information technology support and infrastructure has resulted in stronger support provided to the business community.”

A. Murray | 2006 | Economics,

How Coerced Municipal Amalgamations Thwart the Values of Local Self-Government

“Arguments invoking increased functional efficiency have had a profound impact on local government reforms in advanced democracies during the past 60 years. Consequently, most mature democracies have implemented municipal amalgamation reforms, often through top-down coercion. In this article, we demonstrate how far central governments have been willing to go, in terms of coercion, by providing an in-depth historical account of Swedish municipal amalgamations between 1952 and 1974.

Debates on amalgamation reforms have typically revolved around pros and cons of mergers. But very few discussions have addressed the more fundamental moral problem of enforcing amalgamations through coercion. Often, large-scale mergers are carried through against the expressed will of municipalities who wish to remain self-governing. In this article, we present a normative defense of strong local self-government, based partly on values of individual autonomy, and partly on group-based human rights, and we show how coerced amalgamations are at odds with these values.”

Gissur Ó. Erlingsson, Jörgen Ödalen, Erik Wångmar | Published 20 May 2020 | Political Science | Urban Affairs Review,

Citizens’ Attitudes toward Municipal Amalgamation in Three Ontario Municipalities

“One of the most contentious policies introduced by the Harris Conservative government as part of its Common Sense Revolution was municipal amalgamation. The purpose of the amalgamations was to improve efficiency and reduce municipal spending and to decrease the number of politicians without reducing accessibility to local elected officials.

This paper reports on telephone surveys of residents of three amalgamations in Ontario. Overall, the amalgamated municipalities did not receive high marks from their residents in terms of increased value for taxes as predicted by the province; but at the same time, they did not receive poor marks in terms of loss of attachment to their local communities as predicted by those opposed to amalgamations. The survey also indicated over time support for the amalgamation had been increasing slightly in most areas, although there were some areas in which the level of opposition had not changed.

One of the most contentious policies introduced by the Harris Conservative government in Ontario as part of its Common Sense Revolution was municipal amalgamation. Although the highest-profile amalgamation was the creation of the Toronto megacity, there have been many other amalgamations across the province, with the result that the number of municipalities was reduced by half in the period from 1996 to 2001.

The purpose of the amalgamations was to improve efficiency and reduce municipal spending and to decrease the number of politicians without reducing accessibility to local elected officials (Downey and Williams 1998; Williams and Downey 1999). In many cases, however, there was opposition to amalgamation because residents felt that the larger amalgamated municipalities would increase taxes without providing additional services and destroy their sense of local community.

The Ontario amalgamations fit into a pattern of controversial amalgamations that have occurred in some, but not all, other provinces. Andrew Sancton reviewed the amalgamations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as well as Ontario and failed to find the expected cost savings (Sancton 1996). Reviews of the Toronto amalgamation by Enid Slack (2001) and Fernand Martin (2001) also failed to find any savings. The contentious amalgamation that created the Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996 has been studied extensively and some of the results of those studies will be discussed later and compared to the results in this paper.”

J. Kushner, D. Siegel | March 22 2003 | Political Science | The Canadian Journal of Regional Science,’-Attitudes-toward-Municipal-Amalgamation-*-Kushner-Siegel/168558f00e915ea93be6b0afdb88e1c1d4b15b20

Fiscal Effects of Municipal Amalgamation

“By examining the Fiscal Effects of the large scale municipal amalgamations in the German State of Baden-Wurttemberg from 1967-1975 this paper contributes to the economic literature on municipal public debt by focusing on the often neglected aspect of the appropriate size of local institutions.

Using Data from 1964 to 1988 aggregated to the size of the 1111 municipalities still in existence after the amalgamation (down from 3379) and employing a difference in difference strategy we find, that amalgamation increases municipal debt and general expenditures. Expenditures for administrative staff, by contrast, shrinks in most specifications.”

Benedikt Fritz | 2011 | Economics,

Evaluating municipal mergers’ effects : A review of amalgamation studies in the Netherlands

“Many European countries have gone through processes of amalgamation of municipalities that have fundamentally changed the face of local governance. The question how to assess outcomes of amalgamations has remained under-explored. In this paper, we review the collection of evaluation studies that are available in the Netherlands, which has a long history of evaluating amalgamation outcomes.

Those studies show that amalgamations have consistently not produced the increase in the system capacity of local government that policymakers anticipate and that scale economies should not be taken for granted. The negative effects of amalgamation on citizen effectiveness seem to be more evident. The authors evaluate the quality of existing studies and point to the need for a reconsideration of the study of amalgamation, because the importance of municipal size has been overestimated and evaluation methods can be improved substantially.”

L. Schaap | 2016 | Political Science, Economics,

Municipal Amalgamation in Japan: Who Is Happy?

“In order to improve efficiency in local government public services, Japan’s central government has implemented a strategy of amalgamation of municipalities and created larger local government units. Since the Meiji Restoration (1868) there have been three big waves of amalgamations in Japan. The third, and most recent, wave of municipal amalgamations was at the beginning of the 21st century. Before this amalgamation, decentralization reform had been carried out in 2000, resulting in local governments obtaining many jurisdictions from central government. But under the unitary political structure of Japan, central government has maintained its strong influence over local government.

Because central government considered small local government unable to efficiently provide public services for inhabitants, it strongly insisted on the amalgamation of small municipalities. This restructuring has progressed rapidly and many have disappeared. After the amalgamation, each local government unit is larger than before, but it seems that local democracy has been weakened since the number of members in local parliament and the opportunities for local elections (vote places) have both been reduced. Moreover, inhabitants in periphery areas of large cities are now forced to travel long distances to visit their city hall.”

M. Okamoto | 2012 | Political Science,

Coercive Municipal Amalgamation Today – With Illustrations from Estonia

“This essay presents coercive municipal amalgamation as one of the most serious threats to local government today. But this is without rational base, as all recent empirical investigations deny a connection between size and efficiency in such cases; theory, likewise, speaks against automatic efficiency gains, as efficiency is task-dependent and thus a function of appropriateness.

Then the Estonian case is reviewed, finding that the current, traditional attempts at coercive amalgamation are a typical example of non-rational public-sector reform. Finally, the essay makes the point that matters so fundamental for democracy as municipal autonomy are beyond expert opinion anyway, which necessarily has the habit of changing, but they need to be decided by the citizens involved themselves.”

W. Drechsler | May 5 2013 | Political Science,

Does Municipal Amalgamation Strengthen the Financial Viability of Local Government? A Canadian Example

“Municipal amalgamation is often seen as one way to ensure that municipalities are large enough to be financially and technically capable of providing the extensive array of services with which they are charged. The idea is presumably that municipalities will be able not only to reap economies of scale, but also to coordinate service delivery over the enlarged territory as well as share costs equitably and reduce (even eliminate) spillovers of service delivery across local boundaries.

This paper evaluates the extent to which municipal amalgamation in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in 1998 achieved the provincially-stated objective of saving costs as well as its impact on taxes, financial viability, and local access and responsiveness. We conclude that the end result was the creation of a city that manages to be both too small and too big at the same time.

The amalgamation probably increased the financial viability of at least the smaller and poorer municipalities in the newly created City of Toronto by increasing their access to the tax base of the amalgamated city as a whole and it also equalized local services so that everyone can enjoy a similar level of services. However, it had no significant effect on either the financial sustainability of Toronto or its capacity to deal with financial crises, nor did it achieve cost savings or solve any of the problems that the city and region faced in the last decade and continue to face in this one.

The new city remains much too small to address the regional issues that plague the greater Toronto region (such as transportation and land use planning and economic development) while resulting in resulted in reduced access and participation by residents in local decision-making. On balance, it seems unlikely that anyone looking back with knowledge of the small and questionable gains that appear to have been realized would willingly have undertaken the complex, extended and painful process of metropolitan amalgamation.”

E. Slack, R. Bird | March 25 2013 | Economics, Political Science,

The Political Economy of Municipal Amalgamation – Evidence of Common Pool Effects and Local Public Debt

“This paper investigates the political economy of after merger effects of the large scale municipal amalgamations in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg in the early 1970s. By exploiting the huge variance in the amalgamation process in terms of number of participating municipalities, municipality size or amalgamation strategy we identify considerable common pool effects.

Amalgamations can create a common pool, as the former independent municipalities have now access to more resources. Common pool exploitation is stronger the more municipalities participate and when municipalities amalgamate by annexation. Additionally, voter involvement is lower in amalgamated municipalities.”

Benedikt Fritz, Lars P. Feld | December 23 2015 | Economics | PSN: Debt (Topic),

The legitimacy of local referendums on municipal amalgamation An instrument for decision-making or consulting citizens ?

“Our analysis of the Norwegian cases has shown that the legitimacy of referendums is regarded as high by local political actors. This is, we believe, because referendums are inclusive (in Dahl’s terms). Even though a local referendum only is consultative legally speaking, it is often regarded as binding by political actors – especially if the referendum is held according to standards for democratic decision-making. However, that was not always the case.

The study has also shed light on factors that limit the legitimacy of referendums, both from a normative perspective and in the eyes of political actors. Even though most of the local referendums were held according to the principles of the Election Act, the wording of questions and alternatives on the ballot paper was problematic in several cases. This certainly reduces the democratic legitimacy of these specific referendums. Also other factors, such as low turnout or a close race, may play a similar role.”

B. Folkestad | 2017 | Sociology,

Impact of municipal amalgamation on stakeholder collaboration: the case of Auckland, New Zealand

“Local councils governing Auckland, New Zealand, underwent restructuring in 2010, amalgamating eight local authorities and establishing the Auckland Council as a unitary authority. Key objectives for Auckland’s amalgamation included achieving reform and a single direction in governance, facilitating democratic representation of local communities, overcoming prevalent problems of fragmentation in governance and addressing lack of engagement from local communities.

Qualitative interviews with key public and private sector stakeholders suggest the amalgamation effected changes to collaborative practices in anticipation of the restructure and after the amalgamation occurred. The creation of one council eased many collaborative processes. At the same time, the amalgamation strained collaboration in several ways.”

A. Fathimath | July 3 2017 | Political Science | Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online,

Governance and government of an enlarged municipality after municipal amalgamation : Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

“Between 1999 and 2010, Japan’s national government began actively promoting the merger of smaller municipalities. In 2005 as part of this policy, Hamamatsu City, a major regional manufacturing center in central Japan, merged 11 smaller municipalities under the leadership of its mayor. The resultant municipality had a population of 818,000 and a total area of 1,558 km. In April 2007, Hamamatsu City also received the status of Ordinance-designated City, or the status of administratively top-ranked cities, from the national government. However, a new mayor was elected in April 2007 and started different governing policies.

To examine the government of a spatially large municipality after amalgamation, we got the data on its city governmental organizations and interviewed Hamamatsu City government officials as well as the community leaders of the neighborhood associations all over the city and distributed questionnaires to the residents of the city’s central and peripheral areas. To clarify Hamamatsu City’s governance, we also interviewed the leaders of community-based NPOs in the peripheral areas. The following are our findings:

  1. The new mayor changed the government by drastically reforming the administrative organization and reducing the city government branches in the former merged municipalities.
  2. Seeking a new government, some community leaders in central Hamamatsu prefer the new mayor’s plan called One City with One Municipal Administration, while community leaders in the merged municipalities prefer a return to the former mayor’s plan called One City with Multiple Administrations.
  3. People in the peripheral areas are strongly opposed to the government after the amalgamation and the new mayor’s methods.
  4. Seeking new governance, some people in the peripheral areas have established NPOs to begin restoring community activities and public service levels.”

Jun Nishihara, Shiro Fujii | 2018 | Political Science,

Does municipal funding of organizations reflect communities of need? Exploring trends in Halifax, 1996-2016

“Recent policy shifts and budget cuts have led to a reduction in government support for NGOs. While studies examine funding at the federal level, few analyze municipalities. Using a socio-spatial approach, we compare municipal funding and tax relief with Census data to analyze how fiscal support coincides with social needs in Halifax, Canada.

Our analysis shows that funding declines while the need remains high. We contend this has implications for the ability of organizations to provide services to vulnerable populations and communities as cities shift social support responsibilities to the private sector and municipal governments adopt austerity policies.”

Max Stick, Howard Ramos | Dec 24 2019 | Economics, Political Science, Sociology | Urban Research & Practice,
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