Ivacko: Consolidating government easier said than done

August 7, 2012
In a guest column for Bridge Magazine, Tom Ivacko predicted that wholesale local government mergers were not a likely solution for cash-strapped municipalities. Ivacko is an administrator and program manager at the Ford School's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.

"Intergovernmental collaboration between local governments is extremely common, all across Michigan, but it usually happens in the limited form of jointly providing specific services, such as public safety, water and sewer, parks and recreation, and so on," Ivacko wrote. "Full consolidations of previously separate local governments are rare and take a long time to plan and implement, whether done by disincorporating a village — the approach being considered in the Onekama case — or by other mechanisms."

Ivacko's column – which also appeared on MLive.com – was published the same day residents of two northern Lake Michigan communities, Onekama Village and Onekama Township, voted on a proposal to merge. The proposed consolidation passed in Onekama Township but was defeated in Onekama Village, ultimately falling short of the required two-thirds majority.

Bridge Magazine, which is published by the Center for Michigan, cited Ivacko's assessment in a related article on the Onekama proposal.