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Portland, South Portland Merger

Would it be a good idea for the city of Portland to annex the town of South Portland and function together as one municipality? Why?   19 members have voted

  1. 1. Would it be a good idea for the city of Portland to annex the town of South Portland and function together as one municipality? Why?

    • Yes
      16
    • No
      3

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9 posts in this topic

I always thought the two places were the same town as a child. Now I wish that were the case and I can't see why it isn't. Portland has already begun to swallow parts of its neighbor up (i.e. the Jet Port and the Maine Mall) it just hasn't happened in name yet. Any thought from mainers or others?

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Most definately.  But do you think it would ever happen?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't think so, but I was going to base my final answer on the votes that this poll will hopefully generate. I figured it might be representative of the feeling on this topic as concerns native mainers themselves. I mean, Portland could incorporate Westbrook for another 16,000 people, but Westbrook is more of its own city than South Portland is. South Portland and Portland are virtually indistinguishable (besides the obvious downtown/mall area clash).

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Good luck, it's difficult to annex towns up here in New England. This discussion has been publically bandied here in CT, and the 'burbs always throw a fit when they think they'll lose their precious control of their town. All this despite the fact that most of them exist to begin with because of the core city....

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I know, good point. You are from Hartford, am I right? Well is West Hartford the same place as Hartford, or is it totally different (i.e. can you tell when you're in one place as opposed to the other aside from the upscale character of W.H.?). All South Portlahnd needs to do is drop the 'South' in its name and join the fun. What an economic power house the 'new' city would be.

Aside -- an interesting fact I just found out is that the metro population of portland is not 617,000 people as some suggest. This figure is what the census calls a combined MSA, and it includes the 107,000 people in the L./A. metro, which is about 30 - 40 mins away from portland by highway. So Portland really has 510,000 people. What is interesting, however, is that it is the 9th largest in New England, after Springfield and just before Manchester. In the entire Northeast, including Pennsylvania and New York, it ranks 21st.

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Governor Baldacci has sponsored initiatives to merge certain town services into regional entities (like emergency dispatchers) to eliminate redundancies and save property tax money. A few projects have taken off- transportation planning, for example, is now handled for the most part on a regional basis, and the plan is out to merge the South Portland bus system with Metro- but for the most part, people don't want to relinquish "local control".

I think that the two cities should merge. Instead of two administrations for emergency services, planning, public works, schools, there would be only one for each (with a larger city, these administrations would be slightly larger, but the overall costs would be reduced). A single city government would also be more flexible in planning complimentary development on both sides of the harbor. And if Portland's system of neighborhood associations were extended to South Portland, then that city might actually gain more real local control through a merger.

South Portland and Portland clearly rely on each other: witness how many people cross the Casco Bay Bridge every day on their way to work or home. By holding on to "local control" for now, the citizens of both cities are hampering themselves and missing out on having a lot more regional control.

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The entire northeast suffers from "home rule" syndrome: people don't want to lose control over their territory, etc; but New England is actually quite well off compared with New Jersey and Pennsylvania where there are Boroughs; not like the boros of NYC but small (very small) municipalities in the middle of larger townships. The boros tend to be the downtown areas of towns. Imagine if downtown Gorham, for example, was "Gorham Borough"- a seperate town with its own mayor and police dept, etc...it might extend a half mile either side of where 114 and 202 merge in the center of town. The rest of Gorham beyond that zone would be another municipality altogether. Multiply that hundreds of times and you can see how things can get out of control.

Here's just one example: Hunterdon County in New Jersey.

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Governor Baldacci has sponsored initiatives to merge certain town services into regional entities (like emergency dispatchers) to eliminate redundancies and save property tax money. A few projects have taken off- transportation planning, for example, is now handled for the most part on a regional basis, and the plan is out to merge the South Portland bus system with Metro- but for the most part, people don't want to relinquish "local control".

I think that the two cities should merge. Instead of two administrations for emergency services, planning, public works, schools, there would be only one for each (with a larger city, these administrations would be slightly larger, but the overall costs would be reduced). A single city government would also be more flexible in planning complimentary development on both sides of the harbor. And if Portland's system of neighborhood associations were extended to South Portland, then that city might actually gain more real local control through a merger.

South Portland and Portland clearly rely on each other: witness how many people cross the Casco Bay Bridge every day on their way to work or home. By holding on to "local control" for now, the citizens of both cities are hampering themselves and missing out on having a lot more regional control.

They really do. They have to learn how to cooperate more. Or the entire region will get left behind as the world continues to become more connected and places beging to compete on a global scale.

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Good luck, it's difficult to annex towns up here in New England. This discussion has been publically bandied here in CT, and the 'burbs always throw a fit when they think they'll lose their precious control of their town. All this despite the fact that most of them exist to begin with because of the core city....

Difficult??? Pretty much impossible!!!

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