Local Government Technical Assistance

One of the commission’s chief duties is to provide technical assistance to localities and state agencies on the state’s boundary change and governmental transition processes. The information below provides an overview of each process and information about previous cases reviewed under each process.

Post Boundary Change Actions

Alternative Approaches to Interlocal Concerns

Voluntary Settlement of Annexation, Transition or Immunity

The Voluntary Settlement Agreement procedure is the most common action reviewed by the commission. These agreements are negotiated settlements between two or more local governments, usually resolving annexation issues, though a number of other intergovernmental actions can be resolved through this procedure.

Boundary Adjustments by Agreement

Also known as “simple boundary line adjustments,” this procedure is for when localities resolve to adjust their boundaries with one another, among themselves, without any negotiated terms, which would require review under the Voluntary Settlement Agreement process. Simple boundary line adjustments do not require commission review, unless the location of the boundary is not agreed upon by the localities.

Municipal Annexation

Often referred to as “contested annexation” because the localities cannot agree on terms of a boundary adjustment, this procedure can be initiated by the municipality, citizens or property owners. Currently, there is a moratorium on city-initiated annexations.

Agreements Defining Annexation Rights

This is a streamlined process for towns to negotiate and establish terms for its rights to annex adjoining territory by ordinance. Any agreement also must permanently renounce the town’s right to transition to city status.  

Town Incorporation

New towns can be incorporated either by petitioning the Circuit Court or by act of the General Assembly. The court may request the Commission on Local Government to review the proposal. New towns cannot be formed in counties with a population density of 200 persons/square mile or greater.

Reversion from City to Town Status

Cities with less than 50,000 inhabitants can revert to town status and become a component of a contiguous county. Various state incentives exist to encourage such transition.

Consolidation of Two or More Units of Local Government

Two or more adjoining units of government may consolidate, following a successful referendum. These actions may be initiated by the local governing body or by citizen petition. Various state incentives exist to encourage consolidation of governments. The commission only reviews these cases when the consolidation would result in a city form of government.

Annulment of a Town Charter

This procedure is initiated by the town council, but requires voter approval. It provides for the town to divest itself of all of its assets and debts and for the General Assembly to formally revoke the charter. The commission does not review these proceedings.