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This report .is designed-to foster discussion among citizens, leaders and policymakers regarding an important public Issue of concern to lowans. Iowa State University" seeks to providie accurate research-based information on relevant issues and neither endorses nor opposes proposals regarding the issues analyzed. The research contained-herein was. conducted with partial, support from^ the Iowa Agriculture and:Home Economics Experiment Station :(TAHEES), the Iowa Cooperative 'Extension Service ,(CES). and funding frbm local officials in 40 Iowa counties.collected by. Rural. Counties Against Regionalization (RCAR). RCAR funding was solely-used for funding research assistance with the understanding that the goal of the project was to develop objective, information sources for making ' ' reasonable judgements regarding consolidation issues. The project director expressedly avoided' receiving financial gain from the project so as to prevent conflicts of interest, bias in research, and/or'any appearance thereof^;