Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Survey: How the Fiscal Squeeze Affects the Community. (Readers Respond)

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Survey: How the Fiscal Squeeze Affects the Community. (Readers Respond)

Article excerpt

QUESTION:

Is your city or town facing a fiscal squeeze? If so, what are the effects and how have you responded?

ANSWERS:

"We have reduced essential services already cut as a result of Census and September 11. We have postponed infrastructure maintenance and repair, and postponed investing in capital improvements to meet growth demands. As far as funding, there is no magical way to make money appear without playing a shell game. The federal government shifts the cost to the states, the states shift to counties, and the counties to cities so there is no opportunity for innovation."

Joseph Donaldson, Mayor
Flagstaff, Ariz.

"We have been forced to increase real estate taxes 39 percent. Increased budget costs like hospitalization and insurance premiums are creating real problems. Our local Council of Governments has pleaded with our legislators to address tax reform. So far we've been ignored."

Brian McGrath, Township
Supervisor
Milcreek Township, Pa.

"We have a major combined sewer overflow problem. The EPA is demanding action but they offer absolutely no funding assistance. We have projected budget deficits, layoffs and an increase in drug and weapons crimes. We have hired a consulting group to assist us in developing a legislative agenda to help seek new sources of revenue."

William S. Montgomery
Wilmington, Del.

"We have fewer police on the streets as a result of cuts and the State of Utah is about to release what they call `non-violent criminals' back on the street, which will take up a lot of time."

George Garwood, Mayor
South Ogden, Utah

"Town improvement projects have been delayed because of the financial squeeze. We have cross-trained our employees to make our staff more efficient. Using our own workforce and equipment, rather than contracting our projects, we have been able to stretch our general fund dollars. …

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