Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur B. Gunlicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas R. Morris


The proliferation of local governments and single-purpose regional governmental districts has given local and state government administrators throughout the country many problems. The multiplicity of governments exacerbates conflicts of authority, duplication of services, inadequate service levels, and many other problems. Three basic metropolitan reforms have been implemented to solve these problems: consolidation, disintegration and regional organization. Each of these types of reform has been implemented in Virginia. The most controversial of these reforms is annexation, a form of consolidation where an independent city annexes county land. What contributes to the controversy of annexation movements is that unlike most states, Virginia's counties and cities are independent entities. Whatever the city gains in tax resources by annexation, the county loses. Bitter annexation battles have been waged over the last twenty years influencing the Virginia General Assembly to propose a series of reforms which would drastically alter the characteristics of reform movements in Virginia.