Other Local Governments - Reading Comprehension
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Other Local Governments Reading Comprehension
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Other Local Governments
By Phyllis Naegeli

1     The United States has nearly 90,000 local governments. Of these, about 19,500 are municipal governments where four-fifths of the population lives. The remaining types of government include metropolitan governments, towns and townships, counties, and special districts. Most of the people living within metropolitan areas and municipalities also live within counties or special districts. Counties and special districts also include the people who live in towns and townships.
2     A few areas of the United States have combined the responsibilities of counties and municipalities to form a metropolitan government. People who agree with this process feel that combining the governments of cities and suburbs will enable more services to be available in a more efficient manner. Suburban areas can be affected by air and water pollution created in a city. Suburban communities believe that one government should provide regulations for these problems. People who live within a city feel that taxes collected from suburban areas would help to pay for city services used by those who live in the suburbs. Those who disagree with forming a metropolitan government do not believe that consolidating governments makes services more efficient. They believe that maintaining different governments throughout the metropolitan area maintains a healthy competition between local communities. Individual governments must provide different services in order to attract residents. This causes governments to be more alert to the needs of its community members. Two governments that have consolidated in the past century are Davidson County with Nashville, Tennessee, and Richmond County with Atlanta, Georgia.
3     Less than half of the states in the U.S. have smaller, organized areas called townships or towns. Towns and townships usually provide only basic services (roads, schools, and welfare assistance) to their community members. In Mid-Atlantic states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, townships bring many rural areas together under an organized government. Some towns in New England make use of the purest form of democracy in the United States. Town meetings are held on an annual basis, and the people of the town gather to discuss and vote on current issues affecting the town. This can be a long process as people talk about the best way to solve these concerns. Today, some small towns are turning to representative town meetings. When this happens, the voters in a town choose people to represent their views at a town meeting. This helps to make the town meeting more efficient. Both towns and townships have elected officers to handle legislative duties such as collecting taxes, making and administering town laws, and providing for schools and welfare programs.

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