Next year's elections will be held for 26 councils, the Government has confirmed.
Northern Ireland Office minister Hugo Swire expressed disappointment after days of intensive Executive talks ended in deadlock over local government last week.
How councils pay for services, how they are funded and the centralisation of processes like dealing with waste have been in dispute between central and local government for months.
Resolving whether Dunmurry was inside or outside a Belfast supercouncil had been another sticking point, as it could leave the city with a nationalist majority.
Mr Swire said: "Like many, I am disappointed that the reorganisation will not now go ahead in 2011, not least because Parliament agreed to postpone the 2009 elections to provide for this.
"Clearly it would be unacceptable for the elections to be further postponed beyond 2011 given that there is no sign of the situation being resolved in the immediate future.
"There is now no option but to hold these elections to the existing 26 councils notwithstanding the fact that their boundaries have not been reviewed since 1992."