What does city incorporation mean for Folsom residents?
The city of Folsom, California, was established in the 1940s during the California Gold Rush and incorporated in 1946. The neighboring town of El Dorado Hills is an unincorporated Census-designated place (an area that isn't a city, but is large enough to be included by the Census). If you looked at them on a map, you'd have a difficult time figuring out where the border between the two was, so what does incorporation really mean to these two communities?
The biggest difference between a municipal corporation and a Census-designated place is the form of its local government. A municipal corporation, like Folsom, has its own city government, elected officials and a mayor at the head. This system allows Folsom to enjoy the full benefits of autonomy, such as its own police force and a more defined representation on the state and national level. Meanwhile, the county that El Dorado Hills resides in is responsible for governing the town. The county sheriff provides law enforcement, and other emergency services have to be creatively funded.
Another major difference is taxation. Incorporating a city can, and often does, result in a rise of taxes as a trade-off for its ability to govern itself.
Prospective home buyers considering a move to the area might weigh these factors when deciding between Folsom and El Dorado Hills.