ICMA report: Recession has changed local governments
Local government operations have changed permanently as a result of the recent financial crisis, according to a report from the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Eighty percent of the more than 1,500 local governments that answered a survey that is part of the report, “How It Plays in Peoria: The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Local Governments” reported that the financial crisis had either “moderately” (44 percent), “significantly” (30 percent) or “severely” (6 percent) affected their local government.
Those consequences of the financial crisis, such as reduction in local government services, may be here to stay, said ICMA Deputy Executive Director Elizabeth Kellar in a press conference. “The recession has ushered in permanent changes in governing at the local level, and the changes that have been implemented represent a new way of doing business that will continue beyond the fiscal crisis,” she said.
Maryland Municipal League Executive Director Scott Hancock agreed with Kellar’s assessment. “There will not be a return to normalcy,” he said. “What we have is a new normal as a result of these economic changes.”
The ICMA survey also found that budget shortfalls have been greater than cuts made in the fiscal year 2009 budget in 52 percent of respondents’ communities and the same as the enacted budget cuts in 38 percent of the communities. Along with the results of the survey, the report includes interviews with leaders from five communities: Peoria County, Ill.; Salina, Kan.; Washoe County, Nev.; State College, Pa.; and Richardson, Texas.
View the entire “How It Plays in Peoria: The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Local Governments” report. Listen to audio of the press conference on ICMA’s Web site.