More than two centuries of American democracy have resulted in a profusion of governments at the local level, not only cities and counties but villages and townships, park districts and sanitary distr...
icts and a host of others. To those trying desperately to bring a state’s budget into balance, many of these are useless anachronisms incapable of providing any service that could not be provided higher up the governmental chain. But to the tens of thousands of people who hold office in these local entities — and to millions of citizens who live within them — multiple local governments are a crucial piece of evidence that American democracy reaches down to the grassroots level.
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