Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Much of the current literature in the field of metropolitan government either sets forth examples of governmental difficulties and inefficiencies which result from the urbanization of our population or merely assumes that such difficulties exist. In either case the prescription usually involves some sort of "metropolitanization" of urban governmental structure. Since such prescriptions are aimed either at metropolitan difficulties in general or at particular inefficiencies, it is useful to consider some of the more frequent complaints. One factor often cited as contributing to various urban ills is the archaic governmental structure of many county governments in metropolitan areas. Counties which were originally set up merely as localized agents of the state governments are not equipped to handle many of the functions required when the county includes urbanized areas, either incorporated or unincorporated. Thus, functions usually considered to be duties of the local or municipal government either are not undertaken for the county residents or are handled on an ad hoc basis by the county government in connection with other governmental units. This type of inadequate handling of governmental functions in various locales of the metropolitan area can contribute substantially to the urban "problem."