View Full Version : city consolidation worth consideration

04-03-2007, 10:56 AM
Inelastic cities (the older urban cores of metro areas) often suffer higher rates of municipal problems, whether related to planning or housing, or any number of other "city problems." elastic cities, on the other hand, do not have the same degree of struggle, because they plan with their suburbs to form one economic unit, and administration is much smoother. I think Portland, south portland, Westbrook, Gorham and scarborough should all merge into one city. the same should happen with Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach. Lewiston-Auburn, as the article states, should consolidate as well. What do you think?

Transcending old boundaries to find a path to the future
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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Lewiston and Auburn may have once been historic rivals.
But the long and fruitful history of cooperation between the two former manufacturing centers is providing an exciting test bed for municipal collaboration and consolidation.
Lewiston was once known as a textile center. Auburn was a hub of shoe manufacturing.
Now they're increasingly known simply as L/A, the twin cities on the Androscoggin River.
In 1979, instead of fighting over the revenue from an industrial airpark on their shared border, the cities entered into the first tax-sharing agreement in Maine history. When Central Maine Power proposed a hydropower plant on the Androscoggin River, the cities again agreed to share.
The Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council continues to market the shared attributes of both towns as if they were a single municipal entity.
City leaders say the potential for significant service consolidation are greater now than ever before.
The two city councils are mulling over the idea of sharing a city administrator.
A citizens' commission is advocating for the merger of some city departments, starting with the planning and code-enforcement offices.
Some are even circulating the name Great Falls for the new town, though it's a safe bet that a lot of water will pass under the James B. Longley Bridge that links the two towns before that day comes.
Despite the pushback from defenders of local control over school administrative reform, the faultless fiscal logic of sensible municipal consolidation is taking hold from one end of the state to the other.
L/A is leading the way.

Reader comments

economics of Portland, ME
Apr 3, 2007 10:43 AM
Great falls sounds a lot better than L/A -- I think that name is already taken. I say merge merge merge. it should have started with Portland-South-Portland a hundred years ago. That would instantly lead to greater population (90,000) and smarter planning. there is absolutely no reason why the combined population of portland and out neighbor across the fore river is should not be 100,000 or more, and with smarter, unified planning, this could become a reality. The same goes for lewiston-Auburn, and biddeford saco. Larger municipalities leads to more unified vision and planning and may even increase the quality of life for everyone involved. Read "cities without suburbs" census 2000 update for a quick read on the benefits of urban elasticity (gobbling up suburbs to form better planning patterns).

Brian Hubbell of Bar Harbor, ME
Apr 3, 2007 9:39 AM
...And the remarkable thing -- apparently -- is that these collaborations each happened progressively and under local direction, all without the state first dissolving both cities' charters.

Brian Hubbell of Bar Harbor, ME
Apr 3, 2007 7:23 AM

...And the astonishing thing -- apparently -- is that these collaborations all happened progressively under local direction without the state first dissolving both cities' charters.

04-03-2007, 11:06 AM
It's really a surprise that this is happening in New England, where home-town pride and 'independence' is so strong. Maybe the feeling is different in Maine? I know a lot of towns in Massachusetts could benefit from consolidation.

Bobby Digital
04-03-2007, 12:57 PM
i dont know about anybody else, but quincy should def be part of boston. if maine can do it, maybe it will lead mass cities to do it

04-03-2007, 01:08 PM
I know what you mean, ZenZen, New England is one of the most inelastic urban areas in the country. compare it to southern/western cities and you immediately see a drastic difference in square mileage. many cities are expanding to encompass their whole counties.

04-03-2007, 02:32 PM
Doubt it would ever happen, but some good ideas here!

04-03-2007, 03:17 PM
I see bdd-saco and l/a (both of which are struggling areas) to try enxt to anythign to gain an edge. including consolidating. it already seems like both areas are headed that way.