Thesis (M.P.A., Political Science) -- University of Idaho, 2016 | Cities vary on the services they provide to their residents and how they provide them. What is less known is why there is variation across cities in service provision? For example, why do some cities provide fire inspection services and others don’t? Why does one city use county police and another city directly provide this service? This research attempts to answer these questions by examining the types and modes of service delivery in Idaho cities that are small and uniquely rural.
Idaho is a rural state with a very centralized authority. The state has 200 cities spread in its vast geographic area with relatively few people. These cities display considerable differences on the services that are available and how they are provided. Past studies on local service delivery, which primarily focused on big cities, highlight socio-economic, demographic, geographic proximity, type of a service, forms of city governments, and economies of scale in producing services as important predictors of provision, as well as modes of delivery. What is overlooked in the literature is understanding local service delivery in rural cities and towns from the perspective of their locational distribution.
Locational factors such as distance to other cities, the rural landscape, city size, and the number of cities within a county can have an impact on the choice of rural cities. Decisions about what services cities provide and how they would provide those services impact the wellbeing of the residents of the community. This research looks to the location of rural cities and how these cities are impacted by their location on the provision and delivery modes of local services. It adds spatial perspective in understanding local service delivery with an extended view of the operating context of the rural cities.