DETROIT— Michigan voters support the idea of consolidating government services, such as public transportation, police protection, and other administrative functions as the means of increasing the efficient delivery of public services, according to an August 2012 statewide survey commissioned by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM).
These same voters, however, oppose consolidating township or village governments entirely and increasing the role played by Michigan counties.
“We find these results fascinating,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan. “The data seem to indicate that voters value and support increased sharing and consolidation of local services, but not the consolidation of governments themselves- particularly at the county level.”
Voters were asked if they support or oppose efforts to consolidate services provided by villages, townships or cities that are adjacent to each other as a way to save money. By a margin of 66 percent to 26 percent, voters support the consolidation of services.
When asked if they support or oppose eliminating township or village governments and turning their functions over to county government, however, respondents overwhelmingly oppose the effort by a margin of 33 percent to 56 percent.
“During tough economic times, every penny counts,” Rothwell said. “We believe these results reflect sound prioritization among Michigan residents.”
The poll asked voters if they would support or oppose consolidation of specific services in their own community with a neighboring community or communities in order to save money. The list below ranks those services from highest support for consolidation to lowest support for consolidation.
- Public Transportation 75.4%
- Parks and Recreation 71.7%
- Administrative Functions 67.0%
- Police Protection 60.4%
- Emergency Services (Ambulance) 59.8%
- Fire Protection 58.2%
- School Districts 51.5%
“These numbers don’t vary much based on the type of municipality voters live in-township, village, or city,” Rothwell said. “We also did not see a tremendous amount of variation based on voters’ party affiliation.”