Editorial: Make Home Rule a reality

December 7, 2012 

•  Abolish single-county special purpose districts that deliver recreation, fire, sewer, water and other services and place those responsibilities in the hands of county governments.

•  Give counties control over county offices or, for duties that belong more appropriately with the state, such as elections and voter registration, have the state assume full responsibility, including the cost.

•  Give local governments more revenue options, such as allowing hospitality taxes to be used to pay for necessary services and permitting impact fees to be used to build schools. Remove the arbitrary cap on property taxes and allow local officials to make decisions on behalf of their communities, as they were elected to do.

•  Make countywide elected offices that are purely ministerial — clerk of court, treasurer, auditor, coroner — appointed. Not only would that lead to more qualified candidates seeking the positions but it would remove them from the ballot and give voters more time to focus on those people seeking offices that shape policies and laws.

•  Rewrite archaic annexation laws that make it difficult for cities and towns to expand their boundaries and extend municipal services into areas in their urban footprint.

•  Revise the flawed 1992 consolidation law that is purported to allow cities and counties to merge to end duplication of services and become more efficient.

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