Local Government Law
Chapter 1: Theoretical Perspectives on the Functions of Local Gov’t
I. All power flows form the Cà C grants fed gov’t certain powers. All other power is called the State Reserve Power, which flows into the State C (which were ratified by people of the states thru direct vote). The state C then channels certain powers into: Judiciary, Governor, or Legislature.
a. So Local Governments have two sources of power:
i. State Constitution
ii. State Legislature
II. States have a lot of room to experiment w/ local units of government.
b. Handcuffed only by:
i. Fed C.
ii. State C.
III. If a citizen object to a local unit of gov’t ordinance, ask the following Q’s:
c. Does the LUG have this authority? à Almost always will
d. Did the LUG follow the necessary procedure? à be YES
e. Does the citizen have any rights protected him from this LUG action à look to the Bill of Rights
IV. EXAMPLE: Michigan Legislature has a proposal to abolish the City of Detroit
f. Does the Legislature have this authority?
i. US C: nothing limiting them there
ii. State C: if it’s not here, state Leg has unbridled power
iii. State Leg: Any other state act that has limited power?
iv. Fed Act: Any other fed act limiting the LUG power?
1. Ex: 14th Am Equal Protection Clause prevents gerrymandering for political purposes
V. EXAMPLE: Taking
g. Pole Town
F: Detroit facing negative growth. GM told city they would move unless given 400 acres to build a new plant. Mayor used MI Legislative Act called the Economic Development Act to destroy the Pole Town neighborhood and build the plant. Local citizens pissed off and want to fight it.
I: Did the LUG have the power to do this?
H: Yes, it was legit use of power.
1 P’s challenged the LUG action under the MI C Art 10 Sec 2, which states that such a taking must be for public use. P’s argued that public use means the public has to use it. Ct said this fits under public use as it will provide jobs, etc.
2 P’s could have challenged under the 5th Am of the US C, which prevents gov’t taking of property à But at this time, eminent domain was given broad latitude
h. Hathcock: Revisited Pole Town in 2004
F: State condemned property next to the airport for a park.
H: MI Sup Ct overturned Pole Town stating that condemnation for economic development doesn’t meet the threshold of public use. Added the caveat that eliminating bight could be a public use, though the subject area was not blighted.
i. Keylo v. City of New London
H: Sup Ct said such a takin
i. Typically serve sparsely populated areas
ii. Almost completely funded by property taxes
iii. Townships can incorporate
iv. Unincorporated townships have very little general purpose responsibility
d. School Districts
i. Own board, budget, tax base
ii. Sometimes same geographic boundaries as cities
e. Special Districts
i. Leg creates for Singular purpose à sewer, water, convervation
ii. Leg determines whether appointed or elected
iii. 3 attributes distinguishing from subordinate agencies
1. existence as an organized entity
2. governmental character
3. substantial fiscal and administrative autonomy
f. Public Authorities
i. Housing development authority, downtown development authority
g. Regional Bodies
i. SE MI Council of Governments: Planning and allocation of fed funding for a 7 county region [planning body w/ no real authority] ii. Huron-Clinton Metro Auth, SMART