When Deltona, Fla., incorporated 15 years ago with 86,540 residents, it was an anomaly among cities of its size because it did not have its own police force, relying instead on the Volusia County sheriff's office for law enforcement. Today, Deltona looks more like a trendsetter, as experts say more small- and mid-sized U.S. cities, particularly newly incorporated cities, choose to outsource public safety to the county or state to save money and resources.

Increasingly, new cities are either contracting or sharing city services, says Leonard Matarese, director of Public Safety Services for the International City/County Management Association. "Elected officials are coming to the understanding that we just can't afford to do business [in the traditional sense] any longer," Matarese says.

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