May 4, 2017

CITIES WERE A MISTAKE:

Is Syracuse Necessary? : Some want to save the fiscally challenged city in New York by effectively abolishing it. (ALAN EHRENHALT, MAY 2017, Governing)
 
What would happen to the state of New York if Syracuse ceased to exist? Maybe not a lot. Life would go on pretty much as before. Unless, of course, you were a resident of Syracuse. In that case, you might have cause to wonder what would justify folding up the state's fifth-largest city after a productive life of 192 years.

All right, I'm exaggerating. Syracuse isn't going to be literally wiped off the map. The struggling city will continue to exist as a geographic entity, 26.6 square miles of territory with fixed boundaries and roughly 150,000 people inside them. But if the plans of a blue ribbon commission become law, Syracuse wouldn't be much more than that.

After three years of work and testimony from hundreds of residents, the 19-member Commission on Local Government Modernization, created by a coalition of civic leaders and financed in part by the state legislature, issued its final report early this year. It made a series of recommendations that weren't entirely surprising but still managed to be rather startling in their language, scope and aura of solemnity.

Under the plan, the city would be absorbed by surrounding Onondaga County. Syracuse would have no mayor, no police force and no economic development agency. Its city council would be merged into a 33-member county legislature, only five of whose districts would lie entirely within the city, which currently holds about a third of the county's population.

Posted by at May 4, 2017 5:49 PM

  

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