Scotland should have fewer councils but they should have greater powers, a think-tank has claimed.
Reform Scotland believes there should be just 19 local authorities instead of the 32 that currently exist.
But the independent think-tank said the 19 councils should have more control over local taxes and should also be responsible for providing health services.
In a new report looking at local government, it suggested health boards should be scrapped, with councils becoming responsible for this.
It also wants new laws to be introduced to allow local authorities to hold referendums on the introduction of directly-elected mayors or provosts.
Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson said the Scottish Parliament had "reversed devolution by sucking up council powers".
He demanded: "This has to stop. For Scotland's good, we're calling on everyone to work together to renew local government."
Reform Scotland argued for the shake-up in its Renewing Local Government report, published less than three weeks after the council elections.
Mr Thomson argued that the "disappointing" turnout in the vote made it clear that "we have to take action against the erosion of local democracy in Scotland".
He added: "We hope to start a vital debate in this country which results in a solution being found which empowers our councils and which engages people at election time."
He claimed at the moment there was "too much confusion caused by the inconsistent number of councils, police boards and health boards".
But he said: "By making these boundaries the same and making local authorities more responsible for these essential services we will take a big step in the right direction."
The report added: "In essence, Reform Scotland proposes shifting from 32 local authorities, 14 health boards and currently eight police boards to a single tier of 19 local authorities.
"These 19 councils would be responsible for far more than our current councils and would also have greater financial powers, enabling policies to be put in place that take account of local needs and circumstances."
The think-tank said the biggest change it was proposing was the transfer of responsibility for health services to councils, but it argued this would create a "simpler and more transparent" system.
It also called for councils to have greater financial powers, to make them responsible for a larger proportion of the money they spend.
At the moment, Reform Scotland said this could only be done by giving them full power over council and business rates.
While council tax has been frozen, it suggested authorities should be able to raise or lower the levy in accordance with their budgets and priorities.
The report also argued: "If one council wants to introduce a land value tax rather than the council tax, it should be free to do so.
"Alternatively, if one council wants to scrap second home discounts while another council wants to increase them, reflecting their local circumstances, they should be free to do so."
In addition to this, it said councils should be able to keep business rates raised in their area as this would give them "a real incentive to increase economic growth".
Many of the functions of the enterprise body Scottish Enterprise should also be handed to local government, with Reform Scotland arguing that most quangos should be axed.
Meanwhile, councils should consider devolving greater responsibilities to community councils, with the think-tank saying this could help encourage participation in community councils.
A spokesman for local authorities group Cosla said: "This is a disappointing report in which some of the thinking is woolly and piecemeal.
"It is also interesting and somewhat odd that a think-tank that champions localism is trying to deny councils the opportunity to be truly local with some of the suggestions in this report.
"The real sadness is in the fact that they say in the report there is no political wish to give real powers to 32 councils - well the same is true for 19 councils.
"Nineteen councils is not something they believe in - it is something they think politicians would be able to deal with, but there is no evidence that that would be the case, therefore it is a totally fatuous proposition."
Scottish Conservative local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: "As a party, we are strong supporters of local decision-making as demonstrated in the recent council elections when we launched manifestos for individual areas outlining local priorities.
"We recognise that what works in Stonehaven might not be right for Selkirk, and vice versa.
"There is lots of food for thought in this report and we will give careful consideration to its conclusions in the coming weeks.
"The idea of directly-elected provosts is one we support and we are also in favour of looking at more responsibility to community councils to reflect local needs and reducing the number, scope and budgets of quangos.
"We are more cautious about proposals for significantly increased fiscal powers for local councils and wholesale restructuring of boundaries."
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Our approach to reforming Scotland's public services, following on from the Christie Commission's recommendations, is about making sure that they are consistently well-designed and delivered to the right people by the right people - it does not rely on wholesale structural reform.
"Local authorities are already finding innovative ways of collaborating and improving frontline services to deliver the best outcomes for the people of Scotland.
"The proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, on which we will be consulting soon, will help communities to achieve their own goals and aspirations through taking independent action - and by having their voices heard in the decisions that affect their area."