New York is composed of 3,454 distinct local governments – up from 3,404 in 2007 – and, yep, they all collect taxes.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Census of Governments details the make-up and number of governments in the country. The figures released for this year are preliminary and the data is collected every five years.
According to the census bureau, New York’s nearly 3,500 governments include 57 counties, 617 municipalities, 929 towns and 679 school districts, numbers largely unchanged from 2007.
However, the number of “special districts” – water, fire and library among other districts that independently collect taxes – has grown statewide from 1,119 in 2007 to 1,172.
County-level figures are unavailable.
For years, tax reform advocates in the Lower Hudson Valley have called for a consolidation of special districts and school districts, which they contend would save taxpayers money. Several local municipalities have been given state Local Government Efficiency grants to evaluate options, including government consolidation, to cut costs and improve the delivery of services. Rye town is evaluating a plan to dissolve the town government and create coterminous village/town governments in Rye city and Port Chester. No official recommendation has yet been made.
The town and village of Ossining are also exploring options to more efficiently deliver government services to residents and Greenburgh and its villages are exploring shared services and the consolidation of police departments.
Despite its position as one of the highest-taxing states in the nation, New York doesn’t have the most governments. Several states have more, including Illinois (6,968), the most in the country, California (4,350), Kansas (3,806), Minnesota (3,633), Missouri (3,752), Ohio (3,702), Pennsylvania (4,905) and Texas (4,856).
But New York has the fourth-highest number of school districts. Only California (1,025), Illinois (905) and Texas (1,079) have more.
For more information on the census report and to access data, click here.