Consolidation of county government services is often proposed as a way to reduce costs. A bill was proposed in the 1993 North Dakota Legislative Assembly to merge North Dakota's 53 counties into 15 "super counties." This study estimates county expenditure functions for four categories of services: (1) general government, (2) public safety, (3) roads and highways, and (4) health and welfare. The statistical results were used to estimate expenditures for the 15 consolidated counties and a 26-county alternative. The results indicate that the 15-county proposal would have achieved cost savings of 4.9 percent for the four service categories. Costs of road and highway, general government, and health and welfare services could be reduced 3, 10, and 15 percent, respectively, under the 15-county proposal, but public safety expenditures would increase 25 percent. The 26-county alternative would provide less total cost savings, but also fewer cases of cost increases. Consolidation of some, but not all, county government services provides the greatest cost savings. Note: Figures are not included in the machine readable copy--contact the Department for more information.


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