How It Plays in Peoria: The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Local Governments

Source: International City/County Management Association, 2009

The economic crisis has enveloped every level of government in the United States and across the world. While coverage of federal deficits and state budget crises have received the lion’s share of the media’s attention, local governments have toiled in comparative obscurity. These localities, however, offer an unparalleled range of stories about how the economic crisis has directly affected residents and provide many of the most innovative examples of how effective governance operates during an economic downturn.

Through analysis of the preliminary results of nearly 1,500 local governments collected through ICMA’s recent State of the Profession survey and one-on-one interviews with city, town, and county managers from a diverse cross-section of U.S. communities, the following pages offer a snapshot of how local government leaders and communities throughout the nation are weathering the economic storm and positioning themselves for growth in the future.

Among the findings:

* The financial crisis has had a massive impact on the operations of local governments;
* Budget shortfalls have been worse than imagined in the majority of communities;
* City and county managers have employed a range of strategies to weather the economic crisis; and
* The recession has ushered in permanent changes to governing at the local level.

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