Thursday, September 02, 2021

GOVERNING: Do We Have Too Many County Governments?

We all like to call members of Congress a bunch of crooks. And while everyone loves his own State Rep, most of us consider Harrisburg hopelessly corrupt. Big cities like Philly? Terrible. So I was surprised to recently see an article in Governing claiming that county government has a spotty reputation. I'd disagree. County government has no reputation at all. Everyone who lives in Bethlehem can name the Mayor. But how many could identify the Phil Armstrong (Lehigh) or Lamont McClure (Northampton). County government is actually the forgotten government  even though there are 3,143 of them across the country.

This article suggests that county governments are often corrupt, but that problem occurs mostly in counties that manage highways. In Pa, counties have nothing to do with roads. Governing concedes that counties handle the "messiest and most difficult problems in American local government." With that, I'd agree. It's just not sexy. 

I'd also disagree with their elimination, as has happened in some New England states. I like the idea of there being a government that a farmer can visit in a day. I consider small government more responsive and closer to the people it serves. . 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The movement to consolidate is nothing more than a power and money grab.

E Mest said...

I agree with that Bernie! Big government could care less for the people that pay their bills.

Anonymous said...

It's retail level government and its important, especially with court services, roads, etc.

I do think there can be arguments made though that certain functions can and should be merged with other counties for more regional approaches.

Anonymous said...

We have to much Gov't period! And way to many
damn school boards.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Northampton County once went from Easton to near Harrisburg and all the way north to the New York State border in the 1750's . I believe it is now divided into 16 counties. So to answer the question , To much gov't.

Anonymous said...

politicians only do things that are good for them --they do not do good things for the people or the country -on all levels of government.--this system we have breeds the type of people.

Anonymous said...

The amount of counties is fine. The problem in PA is way too many small municipalities. Plus, having 203 state representatives plus 50 state senators is completely bonkers.

Anonymous said...

How about the county accounts that embezzle the water, sewer and trash funds? SWT & Lower Macungie

I know there’re just pikers compared to Trump but nonetheless crooks.

Small government is for ripping off the small people, what we need is government that ensures everyone pays there fair share and works towards the common good of humanity.

Bill Hillanbrand said...

County governments play an important role, especially in states across America, wherein there are unincorporated areas that provide no local government. Here in Pennsylvania, we are a Commonwealth, which distinguishes us, wherein every square inch of real estate is incorporated. In Pennsylvania, every municipality is a fiefdom unto itself. However, in other states, unincorporated and incorporated areas can choose, in elections, to be serviced by a Sheriff's Department or Police Department, whichever provides better (or cheaper) services. A choice is given the citizen. I have seen, the Counties provide County Fire Services and EMS Services. They have consolidated many other services, as well, that local governments cannot afford. If you ask me, County governments provide the best services for the taxpayer buck.

Anonymous said...

Hey asshole. (6:56 PM) The County doesn't have water, sewer and trash funds. People like you are dangerous. BTW the County doesn't have fire departments, police departments, or ambulance Corps. Before you comment please know the facts.

Anonymous said...

That should be "couldn't care less."

Anonymous said...

I agree with you and favor local governments that encourage citizen involvement. Regionalization works against local government and this idea that government needs to be efficient is not necessarily in the best interest of the citizen. Government is not intended to be a fast food drive through. It takes time for decisions but maximizes citizen involvement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"We have to much Gov't period! And way to many
damn school boards."


This is from someone who obviously needs a little more school and is unable to distinguish between "too" and "to".