Jeff Wachter

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Over the past 50 years, the idea of merging a city with its neighboring or surrounding county has been contemplated in many American cities, voted upon in a few, and enacted in even fewer. The most prominent American mergers have been Jacksonville, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Nashville, TN; and Lexington, KY. Other cities—including Pittsburgh, PA and Memphis, TN— have attempted mergers, but failed at various stages in the process. City/county consolidation has been a controversial topic, with advocates and opponents pointing to different metrics that support their expectations for the consequences of a merger. Louisville, KY, which merged with Jefferson County on January 1st, 2003, is the most recent example of a city/county consolidation executed by a major American city. This report examines how Louisville Metro has performed over the past decade since the merger took effect by analyzing the city’s economy, population, government spending and efficiency, and public opinion about the merger.

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