From Iceland — East Iceland May Become One Municipality

East Iceland May Become One Municipality

Published September 30, 2009

The entirety of east Iceland could be conglomerated into one single municipality.
According to RÚV, the Association of East Icelandic Municipalities (SSA) voted yesterday to investigate how feasible the move would be. A special workgroup will be organized to see in what possible forms the eight municipalities in the region could be combined.
This group will then return a report within a year. During this time, they are expected to contact the Ministry of Transportation and other government officials to get a feel for their level of support, as well as determine what effects the conglomeration could have on the region, with special focus on creating new opportunities.
The combining of regional governments seems to be an increasing trend – last June, locals of the northwest towns of Bolungarvík and Ísafjörður started a similar workgroup to look into combining their two municipalities.
Minister of Transportation Kristján Möller would like to see the entirety of the West Fjörds combined into one municipality.
The move is supposed to create a “rising tide raises all ships” effect, whereby budgets can be distributed more evenly across wider areas; a move welcome by many in Iceland’s smaller, less prosperous towns. However, local pride is still strong – the residents of Súðavík in the West Fjörds, for example, refused to attend a preliminary meeting on an amalgamation of the area.

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