List of U.S. county secession proposals

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This is a list of county secession proposals in the United States; that is, proposed new counties to be formed from existing counties within a given state, but that have not yet been formed. For counties which want to secede from their current state and join or create another, see List of U.S. state partition proposals.

Alabama[edit]

  • Perdido County, Alabama would contain northern Baldwin County, divided by a straight line extending westward from the northwestern tip of Florida, and western Escambia County, west of Big Escambia Creek. (The Flomaton area is excluded via a prominent power line easement, from Big Escambia Creek to the Florida state line.) The southwestern tip of Conecuh County, also west of Big Escambia Creek, may be included as well. The headwaters of the Perdido River rise near the center of this proposed county. The Perdido County seat would be Atmore. The county has been proposed by city of Atmore backers, who believe that their growing city of over 10,000 residents should be a county seat. Furthermore, county backers believe that Atmore belongs in the Mobile-Daphne-Fairhope metropolitan combined statistical area, which would become much more likely within its own exurban-leaning county. Brewton would remain the county seat of rural-leaning Escambia County. In addition to the incorporated city of Atmore, Perdido County would include the unincorporated communities of Blacksher, Canoe, Freemanville, Huxford, Nokomis, Perdido and Tensaw.

Alaska[edit]

  • Chugiak and Eagle River are communities along the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Originally farming and homesteading communities with a distinct identity, they became better known starting in the 1970s as bedroom communities of Anchorage, and are currently located within its city limits (see below). In the wake of the incorporation of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough (in 1964) and subsequent efforts to merge the GAAB with Anchorage's city government (which began in 1966), Chugiak and Eagle River residents began their own efforts to attempt to secede from the GAAB. The culmination of these efforts, the Chugiak-Eagle River Borough, incorporated on August 27, 1974 with an area of 820 square miles (2,100 km2) and an estimated population of 5,832, before the incorporation was invalidated by the Alaska Supreme Court on April 14, 1975.[1] Five months later, the reconstituted GAAB and existing cities within its boundaries merged to form the Municipality of Anchorage. The population of Eagle River increased greatly during the 1980s and 1990s. This has led to renewed discussion during the 21st century on the part of Chugiak and Eagle River residents to secede from Anchorage.

Arizona[edit]

  • Russell Pearce, a state legislator, has proposed a bill which would ease county splits, as part of his effort to split off the East Valley portion of Maricopa County. Two such attempts were made: the first one in the early 1990s included the cities and towns of Mesa (county seat), Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Tempe, and Guadalupe, while a second attempt in the early 2000s included the same cities and towns except for Tempe and Guadalupe. County splitting rules were made more restrictive after the formation of La Paz County in 1983, which required a significant state investment to keep the county running as the result of its small tax base.[2]
  • There is an ongoing movement in Lake Havasu City to split from Mohave County.[3]
  • In the late 1930s, differences between mining and ranching interests in Cochise County spurred a proposal to split the county, with the new county's seat at Willcox, which the state Legislature ultimately rejected.
  • In the 1980s, a bill was passed in the state legislature to create an all Indian county out of the northern halves of Navajo and Apache Counties, and the northeastern half of Coconino County. Non-Indian communities in the southern region of these counties felt that the Navajo and Hopi Nations do not pay a fair share in local taxes. The bill was vetoed by then governor Bruce Babbitt, who placed a five-year moratorium on its consideration. Subsequent attempts to revive the bill failed and the issue has not resurfaced in recent years.[4]

California[edit]

Florida[edit]

  • Two attempts to form a separate county combining parts of Levy and Marion Counties took place. The first one was Bloxham County, and the second was Call County.
  • In 1960, Miami Beach and other municipalities along the Atlantic coast, unhappy with the government structure introduced by the 1957 adoption of a charter in Dade County, unsuccessfully sought to break away as a separate county.[13] In 1999, a bill was introduced in the Florida Legislature that would have allowed the City of Hialeah to vote on seceding from Miami-Dade County to form a new county.[14]
  • In the early-1990s, members of the coastal communities of Duval County that rejected consolidation with Jacksonville planned to form Ocean County.[15]
  • Due to major differences between the south end of the county (the tourist heavy side including the first and third largest communities in the county, Navarre and Gulf Breeze) and the north end (the more agriculture-based side, but where the political power is concentrated), some individuals have suggested that the south end of Santa Rosa County should break off as its own. However, while this has been suggested by some, no major or organized effort has been made to enact such actions. Names like Fairpoint County (after the peninsula the county would be focused upon) and Reagan County (for President Reagan) have been proposed, but no name has been really pushed as part of these suggestions.[16]

Georgia[edit]

  • Milton County or New Milton County has been proposed since early 2000's and calls for separating the northern portion from Atlanta dominated Fulton County. Residents of north Fulton County have sought to essentially re-create the original Milton County formed in 1857 . The proposed plan included some of Georgia's largest cities such as Roswell (7th), Sandy Springs (8th), Johns Creek (12th), Alpharetta (13th), Milton (54th), as well as Mountain Park. [17]

A February 2009 study completed in collaboration between the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and Georgia State University's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies gave a positive analysis of the financial viability of the proposed Milton County. [18]

Hawaii[edit]

  • In 2006, residents of unincorporated west Hawaii County, which currently encompasses all of Hawaii Island, met to propose the formation of West Hawaii County. The recent movement reportedly has the support of at least one state senator.

Illinois[edit]

  • Lincoln County: Southern Cook County communities, upset at Chicago-centric policies of the county government, petitioned in 2004 to split off the southern portion of the county. The southern communities argue they are in financial ruin due to Cook County policies limiting their ability to attract business, but in reverse, those against the proposal note the split was proposed mainly for the leaders of those communities to evade responsibility to Cook County for persistent political corruption, cronyism, and nepotism.[19][20]
  • Marquette County: proposed county to be formed from Hancock County, which made progress in the state legislature in 1844.[21]

Kansas[edit]

  • Garfield County: in 1887, the area around Ravanna and Eminence split from Buffalo County (now split among Lane, Finney, and Gray counties) and organized into Garfield County. Both towns were of equal influence, and contested the award of county seat. An election that year, which involved 20 Dodge City deputies including Bat Masterson, found Ravanna to have the lead. However, Eminence discovered that illegal votes had been cast for Ravanna, and in 1889 the state supreme court overturned 60 votes, awarding Garfield County seat to Eminence. In a doomsday move, Ravanna countered by hiring surveyors to determine that the new county's land area was under the minimum allowed at the time. In 1893 the Kansas state legislature invalidated the county and annexed it to Finney. Today, both Ravanna and Eminence are ghost towns.[22][23][24][25]

Massachusetts[edit]

  • Throughout the history of Worcester County, the largest by area in the state stretching north-south and border-to-border between New Hampshire and Connecticut and Rhode Island, residents of the northern part of the county have pushed for a split. This never occurred, and is now a moot point, as in Massachusetts and Connecticut, county governments in those states have been dissolved, with responsibilities assumed by the state and municipalities within those counties, which now exist solely for historical and regional demarcation purposes.

Michigan[edit]

Minnesota[edit]

Nevada[edit]

  • Residents of Nye County, mainly in Pahrump and Tonopah, have pushed as recently as 2001 for a north-south county split, perhaps with the northern portion merging with Esmeralda County. While laws making it easier to form new counties have passed since then, this split has not occurred.[28] Nye is the largest county in Nevada and the third largest in the entire U.S., although over 90% is federal land.

New Jersey[edit]

  • The municipalities of western Essex County have discussed secession from the county, to create a new West Essex County, spurred mainly by a belief that tax laws benefit the eastern portions of the county at the expense of the western municipalities. Currently, this idea is essentially a dead movement.

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

Ohio[edit]

  • In 1818, residents of the Barnesville greater area petitioned the state legislature for a new county seated at the city and formed from parts of Belmont, Guernsey, and Monroe counties. The proposal was rejected.[29]

Oregon[edit]

  • In 1984, Wilbur Ternyik promoted an effort to form the new "McCall County" out of the western portions of Lane County and Douglas County. The effort was stopped by its promoter at the request of the governor. Lane County is the size of Connecticut, or of Delaware and Rhode Island combined; 4,620 square miles.[30] "At the time we were being treated like a bunch of garbage, and we'd had enough of it," said Ternyik in 2005. Though the effort was not successful, Ternyik credited the effort with getting the county to treat their coastal constituents "a lot nicer," in part due to nervousness about losing timber revenue.[31]
  • In 2005, Keith Stanton began a petition to form a new county from the western portion of Lane County. The proposed county was to be named "Siuslaw County". Stanton's petition was unsuccessful.[32][31] According to Stanton, a new Suislaw County was introduced in the legislature in 1913, at the behest of the timber industry, for reasons similar to those he noted in 2005; and some Mapleton residents revived the idea in 1975, but backed off when the county agreed to improve services.[33][34]

South Carolina[edit]

  • Birch County, to be formed from portions of Lexington and Richland counties in the Midlands region of the state. Proposed in 2013, one-third of voters in the proposed county's area would have to petition the South Carolina Legislature to create a referendum on county creation. Two-thirds of voters in the proposed area would then be required to approve the referendum. Due to South Carolina's checkered voting rights history, the application for a new county would also require federal review and approval.[35]

Tennessee[edit]

  • Neshoba County, to be formed from part of Shelby County. Its formation was threatened in 1990 by rural communities after the city of Memphis proposed that the city's financially struggling school district merge with that of the county. The merger actually took place at the start of the 2013–14 school year, with some of the towns in question forming their own school districts in response.

Virginia[edit]

Washington[edit]

  • Cascade County
  • Cedar County: from eastern King County.[39] A petition in support of the county collected 23,765 signatures, however the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1998 that the state government was not obligated to act upon the petition and that the number of signatures was insufficient per the Washington State Constitution.[40] It said that signatures from half the registered voters of the affected area are required to propose a new county, shelving many county secession movements in the state. Prior to the ruling, Washington county secession movements had interpreted the law to require signatures from only half of those who voted in the most recent election.
  • Freedom County: from northern Snohomish County.[39] Claiming frustration at what they believed to be a corrupt Snohomish County government, on April 23, 1995, the Freedom County commissioners submitted to the Washington Secretary of State a petition with 12,679 signatures calling for the secession of the northern half of Snohomish County, excluding Marysville and the Tulalip Indian reservation.[41] The 1998 decision against the proposed Cedar County was described as a "major setback" for this proposal as well.[40]
  • Independence County: from the eastern portion of Whatcom County. Both Pioneer and Independence movements cite poor services and oppressive property regulations, plus favoritism towards Bellingham as reasons for their proposals. Both are rumored to be backed by land developers.[42]
  • Olympic County: from western Clallam and Jefferson counties[39]
  • Pioneer County: from northern Whatcom County.[39] The 1998 decision against the proposed Cedar County was described as a "major setback" for this proposal as well.[40]
  • Puget Sound County: from southern King County; proposed in 1996[39]
  • Skykomish County: from southeastern Snohomish and northeastern King counties.[39] The 1998 decision against the proposed Cedar County was described as a "major setback" for this proposal as well.[40]
  • Whitehorse County: from northern Snohomish County in the 1970s[39][43]

Wyoming[edit]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitchell, Elaine B., ed. (1975). Alaska Blue Book (Second ed.). Juneau: Alaska Department of Education, Division of State Libraries. p. 141.
  2. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
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  4. ^ "AABE--Difficult race relations continue between Apaches and Whites".
  5. ^ "MJEOL – Search".[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ 2006 Primary Election Results, Santa Barbara County, California
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ [3][permanent dead link]
  9. ^ 1998 Significant Legislation
  10. ^ "Noise News for Week of November 9, 1997". www.nonoise.org.
  11. ^ "Orange County - 1866 to 1888". www.ocalmanac.com. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009.
  12. ^ Sahagun, Louis (May 27, 1988). "Desert Dwellers Want Their Place in the Sun—Named Mojave County". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Richard M. Bernard; Bradley R. Rice (June 23, 2014). Sunbelt Cities: Politics and Growth since World War II. University of Texas Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-292-76982-3.
  14. ^ McMahon, Paula (March 24, 1999). "Hialeah County? City Looks to Split from Miami-Dade". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  15. ^ "October 28, 1993; Florida Crossroads – Ocean County (The Florida Channel)". Archived from the original on July 5, 2013.
  16. ^ Escobedo, Duwayne. "Navarre predicting a strong future business climate". www.nwfdailynews.com. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  17. ^ "Georgia Cities". Georgia Municipal Association.
  18. ^ "Milton County Study". University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Archived from the original on March 25, 2010.
  19. ^ The Leader-Chicago Bureau (November 8, 2004). "Split Vote on Cook County secession in the Southland". The Illinois Leader. Archived from the original on November 26, 2004.
  20. ^ Daniel K. Proft (October 4, 2004). "PROFT: Secession: The Most Important Vote Cast in the Southland this November". The Illinois Leader. Archived from the original on December 17, 2004.
  21. ^ Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2002), p. 308 ISBN 9781570087462
  22. ^ 1998 Kansas Profiles Archived January 5, 2003, at archive.today
  23. ^ "Kansas Counties". Archived from the original on June 16, 2010.
  24. ^ Garfield County – KS-Cyclopedia – 1912 Archived June 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Buffalo County – KS-Cyclopedia – 1912 Archived November 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 24, 2002. Retrieved February 6, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 17, 2005. Retrieved February 8, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Pahrump Valley Times – Nye County's Largest Newspaper Circulation". Archived from the original on March 6, 2005.
  29. ^ "Ol Jakob-First Generation". Archived from the original on January 7, 2007.
  30. ^ The Register-Guard, June 16, 1984. Siuslaw News June 20, 1984. The Oregonian, June 28, 1984.
  31. ^ a b Ross, Winston (September 30, 2005). "Secession by petition not a new idea". The Register-Guard.
  32. ^ The Register-Guard, September 30, 2005, full page coverage. Siuslaw News Opinion Page, April 2005 though May 2006.
  33. ^ Ross, Winston (September 30, 2005). "Some folks in western Lane are ready to form a spinoff "Siuslaw County": Coastal residents consider carving out own county". The Register-Guard.
  34. ^ Stanton, Keith (November 7, 2005). "Siuslaw area could manage on its own as a county". The Register-Guard.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ Modlin, Carolyn Carter (August 25, 1998). "The Desegregation of Southampton County, Virginia Schools 1954-1970". hdl:10919/30040. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  37. ^ Hastie, Thomas P.; Batey, David; Sisson, E.A.; Graham, Albert L., eds. (1906). "Chapter VI: Cities and Towns". An Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Company. p. 151. LCCN 06030900. OCLC 11299996. Retrieved February 2, 2017 – via The Internet Archive.
  38. ^ Wilson, Marshall (December 2, 1964). "Darrington Residents Push Plan for New County". The Seattle Times. p. 21.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h "Activists propose new 'Puget Sound County'". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. AP. July 11, 1996. p. 5A.
  40. ^ a b c d Hal Spencer (February 6, 1998). "New counties dealt major blow". The Spokesman-Review. AP. p. B8.
    "Cedar County Committee v. Munro (No. 64958-8)". FindLaw. February 5, 1998.
  41. ^ Herald staff (October 29, 2000). "History of 'Freedom County'". The Herald. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  42. ^ Paul de Armond; Jim Halpin (1995) [1994]. "Steal This State". Archived from the original on February 4, 2006.
  43. ^ Aweeka, Charles (May 11, 1975). "New-county talk heard in Snohomish backlands". The Seattle Times. p. F12.
  44. ^ "New West". www.newwest.net. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.