Link dump on municipal consolidations underway in Michigan

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Several communities around the state are having conversations about mergers between municipalities, ranging from Onekama Village and Township (total population < 1,000) to Grand Rapids & Kent County, which, as a single municipality of 606,000 people, would be the 24th largest city in the United States, right between Seattle and Washington, DC. No time to process right now, but some assorted links...

One Kent: of the effects of legislation being passed around local government circles in draft form this week. A summary of the draft was leaked to The Press. One Kent Coalition, a group of influential business leaders who want to super-size the city's image on the national and world stage, introduced the merger to Kent County officials last week. The wording of the legislation needed to put the merge into play remains in flux, One Kent spokesman Nyal Deems said Tuesday.

Grand Rapids city commissioners today will hear a report that outlines 58 objections to proposed legislation from the One Kent Coalition that aims to combine city and county government functions.

A Kent County subcommittee aimed at exploring local government mergers, consolidations and cooperation should look beyond on the city-county merger proposal that spawned the group, county leaders said Tuesday.
“I think we should look forward and not behind us,” said Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio, referring to the One Kent Coalition's proposal to merge the city of Grand Rapids and Kent County.

Saugatuck / Douglas / Saugatuck Township:

The first step in a possible merger of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township into one town is under way. The Consolidated Government Committee — a grassroots organization pushing for a merger — plans to file a petition Wednesday with the Michigan State Boundary Commission to put the merger process on track for a vote in 2012.

Tri-Community Consolidation Committee

Onekema / Onekema Township:

Earlier this year, Onekama Township and the Village of Onekama started the official discussions of a merger. The talks also made history, with the two communities becoming some of the first in the state to discuss such a step. Officials unveiled the results of a several month-long merger study to residents at a meeting in June. While a merger would be voted on by Onekama residents, the communities are also getting some help from other organizations to take a closer look at the plan.

The Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan has released a report that will help the Village of Onekama, Onekama Township and other local governments consider the possibilities of merging governments. The report is entitled "The Costs, Benefits and Alternatives for Consolidating the Onekama Governments".

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Nice to see West

Nice to see West Michiganders continuing to move forward on what seems to me to be a prudent decision.

If Kent & GR consolidated, & Detroit continues to lose population at a brisk clip (which it will), Kent/GR could well overtake the D as the most populous city in MI by the next census.

consolidated population rankings

Andy, thanks for the first post on the latest re-activation of the page!

Another fun consolidation to think about is, what if the communities in the 6 mile x 6 mile area of Royal Oak Township became one municipality? That'd be Hazel Park, Ferndale, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, Berkley, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Royal Oak Township, and a slice of Clawson.

Together, they'd make up the 3rd most populous city in Michigan, with about 180,000 residents in 36 square miles -- almost surpassing #2, Grand Rapids, 188,000 people in 45 square miles, and head and shoulders above the next several, Warren at 134k, Sterling Heights at 129k, Lansing at 114k, and Ann Arbor at 113k. Not only would that give them new and interesting political stature, but would boost them into new brackets for state revenue sharing, CDBG, and other population-based funding calculations.

Would they ever imagine doing it? Probably not.

The idea of a combined

The idea of a combined municipality directly adjacent to Detroit is interesting. Are there other examples of this kind of binary system coming into existence elsewhere? It seems to run counter to the idea of core-city/edge-cities and exurbs.

As to the likelihood, I agree that the identities of some of the various candidates for inclusion are well invested in their own identities, and would be unlikely to want to take on such a revision. But then, there's nothing taken away from the character of various neighborhoods and communities in Detroit (or NYC, or Chicago, or...)

binary systems

You could argue that setting up a "binary system" is what Warren, Dearborn, Southfield have been striving for for decades (recall Southfield's motto, "The Center of it All"). "Greater Royal Oak" wouldn't be fundamentally different, just, slightly bigger.

Most of the examples of metropolitan consolidations I know of are city/county mergers, like Louisville, Lexington, and Indianapolis--cities where, generally, you don't have the sheer number and fragmentation of suburban communities that metro Detroit does. Maybe a better example of a "binary system" would be Minneapolis/St. Paul, relative peers in population, and with many more elements of regional governance in place.

Any by "Probably not", you

Any by "Probably not", you actually mean "not a chance in hell." PR won't even share their police with the surrounding municipalities, let alone merge...and from when I lived in RO, the viewpoint north of 696 is that anything south is just a barren wasteland, so they wouldn't even think of merging in their worst nightmares....