On May 29, 2012, the Marin Civil Grand Jury issued a report entitled “Pre-Schoolers Learn to Share – Can Local Governments?”. Over the past year, staff has been contacted by the Grand Jury on various local government questions, most recently on the number of special districts in Marin County. Prior to that, staff provided information on successful political consolidations, to which the Grand Jury added other examples of functional consolidation.
The Grand Jury’s research concentrated on the number and variety of governmental entities in Marin County and argued that in such a complex system, that opportunities for increased efficiency and cost savings were present and must be pursued as a fundamental component of public policy.
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After World War II, California experienced dramatic growth in population and economic development. With this boom came a demand for housing, jobs, and public services. To accommodate this demand, the state approved the formation of many new local government agencies, often with little forethought as to the ultimate governance structures in a given region. The lack of coordination and adequate planning led to a multitude of overlapping, inefficient jurisdictional and service boundaries, and the premature conversion/loss of California’s agricultural and open-space lands.