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Minister wants municipal district councils to be eliminated

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE Internal Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner proposes to eliminate the municipal district councils which were introduced in the early 1980s as part of the conglomeration of the Amsterdam and Rotterdam municipalities. It was feared that the public would be too far removed from the then newly enlarged city municipalities, hence the emergence of the municipal district councils. Amsterdam has seven of these local councils with 203 councilors. Rotterdam covers a larger area, with fourteen and 272 councilors. Each of these councils has an office, executives and support staff, and jurisdiction over a number of service areas. The minister notes that both cities have a municipal structure that has become too cumbersome and appear to growing into just another layer of bureaucracy. Although every municipality could have opted to create district councils, only Amsterdam and Rotterdam did so. Donner has submitted his proposal to phase out the district councils by 2014 to the two municipalities and to their national municipal umbrella organization. The two cities have already indicated they are against Donner's plan, however.