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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. For counties which want to secede from their current state and join or create another, see List of U.S. state secession proposals.
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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. 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.
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 proposals were made: one of them included the cities and towns of Mesa (county seat), Chandler, Gilbert, and Queen Creek, while an alternative proposal included the cities of Tempe and Scottsdale in addition to the cities and towns in the main proposal. County splitting rules were made more restrictive after the formation of La Paz County, Arizona in 1983, which required a significant state investment to keep the county running as the result of its small tax base.
In the late 1930s, differences between mining and ranching interests in Cochise County, Arizona 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 successfully 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.
In 1988, there was a serious effort, including a vote on the subject, to divide San Bernardino County into its urban Southwestern corner, which would have retained the name, and a new Mojave County to comprise the vast, sparsely populated Northern and Eastern portions.
On September 3, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to pursue seceding from California, with the goal of forming a new state called Jefferson.
On September 24, 2013, Modoc County supervisors voted to secede from California, hoping to join Siskiyou County in forming the State of Jefferson.
In the early-1990s, members of the coastal communities of Duval County that rejected consolidation with Jacksonville planned to form Ocean County, Florida.
Milton County once existed, but in the 1930s it merged (along with other counties and towns) with Fulton County, in the 1930s to save money during the Great Depression. More recently, land-use and other divisions have inspired discussion of the re-establishment of Milton County.
In Gwinnett County there is an active movement for the secession of the more affluent Northern portion of the county, which feels it is poorly represented in the Lawrenceville government despite the large amount of tax revenue derived from the area.
In 2006, residents of unincorporated west Hawaii County, Hawaii, 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. Critics argue the region's concerns could be satisfied simply by municipal corporation.
Lincoln County: Southern Cook County, Illinois 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 bad policies limiting their ability to attract business, but critics contend that the area's problems stem from rampant city corruption.
In a 2004 meeting of the Putnam County, Indiana commissioners, the sentiment of splitting the county, in order to fairly distribute innkeepers' tax, is alluded to, but rejected as an invalid matter for the council.
Garfield County: In 1887, the area around Ravanna, Kansas and Eminence, Kansas split from Buffalo County, Kansas (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.
Throughout the history of Worcester County, Massachusetts, the largest by area in the state, residents of the northern part of the county have pushed for a split. This never occurred, and is now a moot point as, like some other New England counties, the county government has been dissolved and its responsibilities assumed by the state.
Residents of Nye County, Nevada, mainly in Pahrump, Nevada and Tonopah, Nevada, have pushed as recently as 2001 for a north-south county split, perhaps with the northern portion merging with Esmeralda County, Nevada. While laws making it easier to form new counties have passed since then, this split has not occurred. Nye is the largest county in Nevada and the third largest in the entire U.S., although over 90% is federal land.
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
In 2001, David Dillon, editor of the The North Coast Citizen newspaper, proposed a new county be formed from the northern portion of Tillamook County, Oregon. Discussion and research on the new county, which was never named, stalled in 2002.
In 1984, an effort was stopped by its promoter Wilbur Ternyik at the request of the governor as it was to assured to succeed in forming McCall County out of the western portion of Lane County and Douglas County. Lane County alone is the size of Connecticut or of Delaware and Rhode Island combined; 4620 square miles.
In 2005, was the next effort in the 100 year long desire for the western portion to gain independence from the Eugene centered/serving Lane County. This effort was to take a quarter of Lane County forming Siuslaw County; roughly 1,000 square miles. Chief petitioner Keith Stanton was unable to gather the needed 50%+1 signatures of those registered to vote and living within the proposed new county area. No foundation work was done in the hopes the citizens knew what they wanted and only needed to learn it was within their grasp.
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.
Neshoba County, to be formed from part of Shelby County, Tennessee. Its formation was threatened in 1990 by rural communities after the city of Memphis, Tennessee proposed that the city's financially struggling school district merge with that of the county, which continues to be repeatedly considered.
Cascade County: from the rural eastern portions of King and Pierce counties
Cedar County: from eastern King County. 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.
Independence County: form the east 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.
Western Greenbrier County, West Virginia, to be formed from Greenbrier County, West Virginia. This political subdivision of the State of West Virginia shall be accomplished by the separation of one or more of the westernmost districts from the existing county. An official name for the county and a county seat have not been selected. Presently, the movement toward separation is not formally organized and is little more than dialog in social circles. Residents cite poor services and oppressive property regulations emanating from the county seat. A glimpse of the western end of the county reveals an area that is culturally stagnant, economically impoverished, and politically disenfranchised. A demographic observation of the area is that of a predominantly low income, blue collar, working class community. Poor infrastructure and little economic development contribute to this area's condition. Separation from the more affluent and economically vibrant eastern end of the county would give the western end a fresh start.
Paw Paw County to be formed from the northern part of Marion County, West Virginia and the southern and western parts of Monongalia County, West Virginia. The separatist movement is centered in and around Grant Town, West Virginia, the proposed county seat and bases the reason for the separation as the cultural homogeneity of the area and the lack of interest from the present government. The proposed county has a flag consisting of two gold stripes on a field of azure with a stylized likeness of the Grant Town Goon, a local Bigfoot-like creature reported to roam the area. The county is to be named for the Paw Paw Creek which drains most of the area.