The U.S. Census Bureau just completed a different kind of count: tallying the number of local governments in each state. Utah had 622, as of June 30, 2012, up from 588 five years earlier.
That ranked Utah No. 41 among the 50 states for numbers of governments, perhaps showing that Utahns do like less government.
The final Census of Goverments — conducted every five years — shows the nation has 90,056 local governments. That includes 3,031 counties, 19,519 municipalities, 16,360 townships and 51,146 "special purpose" districts for everything from school to water, fire, sewer, cemeteries and even mosquito abatement. The numbers differed a bit from preliminary estimates released last year.
The census said Utah has 245 cities and towns (up from 242 five years earlier); 41 school districts (up from 40); and 307 special districts (up from 288).
Examples of the 34 new governments formed in the past five years include the Canyons School District, which began operation in 2009 after splitting from Jordan School District, and the new towns of Hideout and Independence in Wasatch County, incorporated in 2008.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Office lists numerous new special districts formed in the past few years, from the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park Special Service District — for an archery and gun range in Washington County — to the Ticaboo Electric Improvement District and several new water districts in Utah, Grand, Washington and Kane counties.
Filings with the state also show that some special districts were dissolved in the past five years, including the South Sevier and Dameron Valley special service districts.
The new census information says special districts in Utah include some set up for cemeteries, conservation, drainage, fire protection, housing authorities, improvement (for water, sewage and power), irrigation, metropolitan water service and mosquito abatement.
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