The Wisconsin Secretary of State certified that the Town of Summit incorporated as the Village of Summit on July 29, 2010.
By Charles B. Stockdale, 24/7 Wall St.
New cities, towns, and villages are created each year in the United States. They’re not necessarily new settlements, and are more often areas within a county that decide to incorporate. According to data collected by 24/7 Wall St. from the U.S. Census Bureau, nine new municipalities have incorporated in the last two years.
The nine new cities are located in different parts of the country, but the reasons why they chose to incorporate are similar. Unincorporated communities are at the mercy of greater legislative bodies — most often county governments — and incorporation gives them more local control. Providence Village, Texas, cited its lack of policing capabilities as a reason it incorporated in 2010. Jurupa Valley, Calif., which incorporated this summer, cited garbage collection. Ultimately, these cities and towns reflected a desire among residents to control the development of their metropolitan areas.
Some communities said survival — in a territorial sense — was one of their primary reasons for incorporation. Coyote Flats, Texas, Summit, Wis., and Semmes, Ala., all incorporated to, at least in part, avoid annexation by neighboring cities. Unincorporated areas can lose land to incorporated neighbors, or be fully absorbed, potentially altering the nature of their communities.
Greg Bryan, mayor of the recently incorporated Tusayan, Ariz., told 24/7 Wall St. that residents made the decision because they wanted to “take control of (their) own destiny.” This desire appears to be prevalent across the country.
These are the nine newest cities in the country.
1. Anthony, New Mexico
- Date of incorporation: Jan. 5, 2010
- Population: 9,360
The twin towns of Anthony, N.M., and Anthony, Texas, are located on the border between the two states. While the Texas town has been incorporated for over half a century, New Mexico’s Anthony was only incorporated in January of 2010. Nearly 27 percent of voters opposed the measure. Those in favor believed their community had “languished over the years under the jurisdiction of Dona Ana County government and that forming a city will give residents direct control over their fate,” thereby solving a number of local problems, according to the Associated Press. Opponents feared higher taxes and increased government involvement. Following incorporation, residents went to the polls to elect a mayor, trustees and a municipal judge for the first time, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
2. Coyote Flats, Texas
- Date of incorporation: March 8, 2010
- Population: 312
Coyote Flats is a small Texas city with a population of just over 300. One of the primary reasons for incorporation was to avoid being annexed by the neighboring city of Keene — a move that was attempted in 2009, according to the Cleburne Times-Review. The paper notes that annexation would cause residents of the area now known as Coyote Flats to face Keene city regulations, taxes and fees. Coyote Flats' taxes are significantly lower than Keene’s, according to the paper. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Coyote Flats is available in the “Adopt-A-Town” program. According to the site, “After you select a county or town, you can adopt it by completing the online form. You can adopt the town for yourself or dedicate it to a loved one, to family pioneers or promote a business.” Donations to the program funds statewide educational programs.
3. Tusayan, Arizona
- Date of incorporation: March 26, 2010
- Population: 558
When asked about the reasons behind Tusayan’s incorporation, Mayor Greg Bryan told 24/7 Wall St. that residents wished to “take control of [their] own destiny” and “make decisions locally.” The primary driving force, however, was to provide affordable housing. Before incorporation, Tusayan had developed into a company town. The vast majority of property was — and largely still is — owned by a small number of companies. As a result, residents could not find housing if they did not work for one of the companies. Worse still, when residents lost their jobs they lost their homes. Incorporation has allowed a town housing authority to address this issue. Once the town was incorporated, it gave the community the opportunity to work with the adjacent Grand Canyon National Park. The closest town to the Park's entrance has joined forces with a number of new developers to raise its profile as a resort destination.
4. Providence Village, Texas
- Date of incorporation: May 8, 2010
- Population: 5,000
Just 10 years ago, Providence Village was little more than cow pasture. Developers then came to the area and created a number of planned communities. These communities had several problems, including structural and control issues for residents, and poor policing capabilities, according to Connie Hansen, current town secretary. Providence Village was one of the first master-planned communities in the area, and is surrounded by other communities that could incorporate in the future, Hansen says.
5. Summit, Wisconsin
- Date of incorporation: July 29, 2010
- Population: 4,674
According to the Village of Summit’s official press release, the Wisconsin Secretary of State certified that the Town of Summit incorporated as the Village of Summit on July 29, 2010. “A short ceremony at the State Capitol office of the Secretary completed a 15-year odyssey for the community of 5,000 people.” As a town, the community was “subject to land annexations for several years from neighboring cities of Oconomowoc and Dousman,” an article in Wisconsin’s Daily Reporter notes. As an incorporated village, Summit could also receive more revenue from the state.
6. Mastic Beach, New York
- Date of incorporation: Aug. 31, 2010
- Population: 12,930
Mastic Beach, on the southern shore of Long Island, New York, is the state’s newest village. Formerly a ward of Brookhaven, it incorporated after residents sought to break from the much larger neighboring town. According to Newsday, incorporation was spearheaded by Mayor Paul Breschard, who suggested the new government would “crack down on absentee landlords and quality-of-life problems, and that incorporation would not result in a tax increase.” The president of the local property owners association claims property code enforcement has not improved, a complaint the village counters by pointing to new hires and tickets issued. Meanwhile, residents remain concerned that local taxes will increase.
7. Eastvale, Calif.
- Date of incorporation: Oct. 1, 2010
- Population: 53,668
Eastvale was originally a rural community, but as a result of its proximity to Orange County and Los Angeles County it became more suburban. According to Michele Nissen, public information officer for Eastvale, “The number one reason that residents sought to incorporate was to have more local control over services and land use issues.” Incorporation has brought the city increased law enforcement presence and greater resident involvement in planning issues through the city Planning Department and Planning Commission. It also gave the city greater ability to enforce its own laws. According to the Facebook page of the Law Enforcement and Fire Fighter’s Association of the City of Eastvale, is is the first resident police and fire sssociation ever established in the U.S.
- Date of incorporation: May 2, 2011
- Population: 2,897
The incorporation of Semmes was spurred by a desire among residents to avoid annexation by neighboring Mobile, Ala., according to Alabama Live. This would have subjected Semmes residents to a 2.5-cent sales tax increase, as well as oversight by Mobile’s Planning Commission. The city has about 2,800 people and covers just over 2,100 acres.
9. Jurupa Valley, CA
- Date of incorporation: July 1, 2011
- Population: 94,235
The City of Jurupa Valley was combined 10 separate neighborhoods located in the northeastern part of Riverside County. Organizers of the measure cited the importance of local control over such issues as the regional substation, garbage collection, and development of a downtown area. The pro-incorporation organization website states: “Instead of building up our retail on the road to bring customers and sales tax revenue into our area to support our community, the county has built County Service Offices doing nothing to grow our area.”