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Report Finds Wisconsin Has 'An Abundance Of Local Government'

Negro Elkha
Wisconsin has more than 3,000 local governments. We look at the history of these governments and how consolidation could impact local communities.

Local governments are incredibly important to our communities. They are largely responsible for allocating money to schools, roads, and first responder services, like police and firefighters. But too many local governments can be problematic. It can mean overlapping responsibilities and potentially, a waste of taxpayer dollars.

According to a new report, "An Abundance of Local Government," by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state has more than 3,000 local governments, making it the state with the 11th most local governments in the nation. 

Jason Stein, research director for the Forum, explains that there are some valid reasons to have more governments. In some cases, creating regional governments for special issues can actually consolidate resources. And consolidation can be helpful overall, but it's not always as simple as combining school districts or city councils. 

"A lot of these are decisions that are not just policy or public safety decisions, but they’re also political decisions about: what do the voters and the taxpayers in those areas — what do they value? What is important to them?" Stein says.

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.