Municipalities of Finland
The municipalities ( kunta Finnish, Swedish kommun, as, commune ' translated) form the local level in the administrative division of the country and the principal organ of local self-government in Finland.
Today, there are 320 municipalities in Finland, of which 107 cities are (as of 2013). In terms of area and population of the Finnish municipalities, there are large differences, especially in the sparsely populated northern Finland the municipalities often include a very large area. The largest municipality of Inari has an area of 17 334 square kilometers with less than 7000 inhabitants and is thus larger than the German state of Thuringia. The smallest area of municipality, the city Kauniainen, comprises only 6 square kilometers. Most people live in the capital Helsinki with 604 380, the fewest Sottunga in Åland with 101 ( respectively 31 December 2012).
Historically, the Finnish communities in the parishes (Finnish pitäjä, swedish socks ) from the Swedish time back. 1865, the management of the rural communities of the Church administration was separated and introduced the political community as a civilian self-government unit. Traditionally, Finland had three different types of communities with different privileges. The actual communities were rural areas. There were also the market towns ( kauppala, Linköping ), city developed similar places without their own city rights, and the cities ( kaupunki, stad ). The market towns were abolished in 1976 and converted into cities. In 1995, the last legal differences between municipalities and cities have been lifted. Since then, the cities are terminologically municipalities and each municipality may call itself by its own decision as a city.
After the Second World War, the number of municipalities in Finland had amounted to 547. Until the 1950s it came to pass that larger sites have been solved as a market town from the surrounding municipalities, most recently about 1951 Järvenpää from Tuusula. Since then, the number of municipalities has decreased by municipal mergers. In the 1960s, the Finnish government was preparing a bill that would allow forced amalgamations. Although this law was never adopted, but it came as a response especially in the period 1969-1977 to a larger number of municipal mergers.
In 2005, the Finnish government initiated a " municipal and service structure reform." You should back up the guarantee of municipal services and seeks to create greater community units. As a result of the reform there have been 82 municipal mergers 2005-2013, by the number of municipalities has decreased to 320 at present. Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen gave 2012 as the target of his government to reduce the number of municipalities from 100 to the end of its term in 2015. Through the village Reform congregations have emerged from considerable expansion partly also in the more densely populated southern part of Finland. So the city Hämeenlinna after the incorporation of five neighboring municipalities has an area of over 2,000 square kilometers.
The municipalities are responsible for public facilities such as schools, health, water and local roads. You also have the right to levy a council tax 16-20 %, which accounts for up to two thirds of the total tax burden. Other areas such as highways, legislation or police forces are the responsibility of the central government.
The decision-making power in the community exerted by a directly elected municipal council every four years ( kunnanvaltuusto ). This selects as an administrative body, the municipal government ( kunnanhallitus ). The chair of the municipal government leads to either a full-time community manager ( kunnanjohtaja ) or a honorary mayor ( pormestari ). Whether a municipality is called " town ", is a legal and administrative meaningless. The designation may result in each municipality, which has an urban structure according to their own opinion.