NLC survey finds strong fiscal conditions
The National League of Cities’ annual survey on city fiscal conditions indicates that many municipalities are improving economically and investing in their communities. Findings are based on responses from 317 cities with populations over 10,000.
Surveyed cities gave the highest response in 10 years to two questions about financial stability. Three of four respondents stated that their communities were better able to meet financial needs than in the previous year, and 64 percent believe their financial situation will improve next year.
Many cities reported increased spending on public safety (83 percent), capital improvements (70 percent), human services (45 percent) and operations (57 percent). When asked what items were most pressing on budgets, 55 percent cited infrastructure; 42 percent, public safety; 42 percent, wages; and 31 percent, employee health benefits. Most identified a strong city tax base and a healthy local economy as the most influential factors in financial health. Eighty-one percent of cities with an income tax responded positively when questioned about their ability to meet financial needs; 75 percent of cities with sales tax and 72 percent of cities with property tax responded similarly.
The survey included 28 of the 51 largest U.S. cities, with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. It also went to a random sample of cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.
Report copies are available from NLC Publications, P.O. Box 491, Annapolis Junction MD 20701. The cost is $30 ($20 for NLC members) plus shipping and handling.