Relationship Between State and Local Government Essay

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Forms of Local Government
The basis for county, city and special district governing and authority are laid out in the State Constitution and Government Code. Counties in California are responsible for providing limited services to unincorporated areas. The state Legislature created the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in 1963 to control local government fragmentation. The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) gives counties the power to tax, create special districts and annex unincorporated land to cities in the county (League of Women Voters, 1992).
There are three classes of county government. The main differences are in the organization and selection of governing bodies and officers. General Law counties elect
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Municipalities may also provide parks, public housing, and various utility services. Cities are required to develop a general plan, environmental reports and review of their capital improvements program (League of California Cities, n.d.). Charter municipalities may have increased powers, requiring a vote for adoption and amendment. Incorporated cities and towns have the power to levy taxes. Special districts provide focused service. They only serve specific designated areas and provide only one service. That service is a public service or program constitutes want. While county and city service are mandated by federal and state government, special districts provide what the public wants. Local agency loss of property tax revenue and competition for existing revenue leaves fewer dollars for services. Residents and landowners can form a district to pay for an increased level of service or other services they desire. Local citizens can receive services at the price they are willing to pay (League of Women Voters, 1992).
Special districts are not state government. They are accountable to the voters. State government does look over financial reports and requires state law be followed for public meetings, bonded debt, record keeping and elections. They provide public services and infrastructure that help communities but not direct economic development (CSDA, n.d.).
Intergovernmental Cooperation
The local government must work within the state and
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