The contribution by local people in council tax in my area council tax is 16% . All other cash is provided by national government. By chance the local council budget is 16% for envronment. All the other work they do for the 84% from central gov. is on an agency basis – education, police, social work etc. The locals have no interest in local politics because the council is busy implement the decisions of national government .
The best way to get locals interested in local democracy / governmemt is for them to pay for 100% of the local decisions via a council tax for the "environment" and for the national government to tender for management of all the other work as an alternative to giving the budget directly to education, police etc, allowing them to manage their own money without the local government skimming cash off for other activity. The locals would very soon be interested in how their money was being manged locally and vote accordingly.
A good expamle was the tendering for maintainance of trunk roads on Scotland. Local council collecrtively was abotu £500m . Private firms do it for about £150m
There may be a case for retaining the County Council but we also need to return to Town Council level of local management of the environment.
Why is this idea important?
Increase interest in local decision making
increase interest in democracy and voting.
Locals would know what they are getting for their council tax cash
Local council tax may not go down but I beleive National Govt would get better value for money