NLC: Fiscal, Economic Conditions Getting Worse, Not Better

Article excerpt

A recent national survey of 345 cities and towns by the National League of Cities indicates that fiscal and economic conditions remain depressed in America's cities. However, cities reported improvements in several important areas, including the vitality of their downtowns, increased efficiency in service delivery, and emergency preparedness. The findings were presented to members of the U.S. House of Representatives in March.

The NLC's 2003 survey of city fiscal conditions showed that cities and towns were struggling with the most serious fiscal problems in at least two decades. More than four out of five cities and towns in the 2003 survey reported being less able to meet their financial needs compared with the previous year, and expected to be even less able to meet those needs in 2004.

Well over half of the cities are responding to the fiscal crisis by raising user fees for services, drawing down reserves, and dramatically cutting investment in infrastructure and maintenance; many are laying off city staff, including police officers and firefighters. …