The Municipal Budget Crunch

A Handbook for Professionals


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About the Book

This book is based on a national literature search focusing on the best practices of cities, of all sizes and geographic locations, intended to maintain public services while holding down taxes. Many public officials have great ideas, but tend to work in a vacuum, so they don’t know what other cities are doing. This volume codifies knowledge in this new field for the first time. Every case study included in this book has the city’s website listed. This reference work makes it easy for professionals seeking additional information on any and all budget reduction methods that seem to work somewhere.

About the Author(s)

Roger L. Kemp, Ph.D., has been a city manager on both the East and West coasts for more than 25 years and holds International City/County Management Association credentials. He has taught at the University of California, Rutgers University, the University of New Haven, and the University of Connecticut. He is a distinguished adjunct professor in the Executive MPA Program at Golden Gate University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Roger L. Kemp
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 277
Bibliographic Info: appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6374-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9235-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii

Preface      1

Part I. Introduction

1. The Fiscal Crisis and America’s Cities

Derek Okubo      7

2. Balancing Budgets with Job and Service Reductions

Christopher W. Hoene and Jacqueline J. Byers      13

3. Prudent Options for Balancing City Budgets

Roger L. Kemp      17

4. Saving Money by Contracting for Public Services

Amanda M. Girth and Jocelyn M. Johnston      22

5. Innovative Staffing Options Help Balance Budgets

Laura Kushner      25

6. Evaluating the Results of Staffing Decisions Beforehand

Lisa Rund and       28

7. Options to Ensure Fiscal Health During Tough Times

Alan Kemp      32

8. Strategies to Ensure Long-Term Fiscal Health

Jeff Schott      35

9. Financial Measures to Restore America’s Infrastructure

Nancy Mann Jackson      38

Part II. Best Practices

10. Ann Arbor Uses Economic Development to Increase Its Revenues

Craig Chavez      41

11. Arlington and Other Cities Share Services to Reduce Costs

Monte Mercer      44

12. Auburn and Adjoining City Consolidate Services

Liz Chapman Mockler      49

13. Boca Raton Develops Long-Range Financial Plans

Linda C. Davidson      53

14. Chandler and Other Cities Use Volunteers to Provide Services

David Bigos      57

15. Charlotte and Other Cities Implement Employee Wellness Programs

Robert Barkin      65

16. Chicago Uses Citizen Input to Make Budget Decisions

Josh Lerner      68

17. Cincinnati and Other Cities Improve Public Trust in Government

Sheryl Sculley      74

18. Colorado Springs Uses Citizens to Evaluate Public Services

Zach Patton      76

19. Coral Springs and Other Cities Focus on Financial Planning

Shayne Kavanagh      81

20. Denver and Other Cities Use Performance Results to Make Budget Decisions

Melanie McKinney-Gonzales      86

21. Des Moines and Other Cities Seek Citizen Input on Public Services

Barbara J. Cohn Berman      89

22. Elgin and Other Cities Use Public Managers to Address Fiscal Issues

Elizabeth Kellar      96

23. Eugene Uses Citizens to Improve Its Budget Process

Donald J. Borut, Melissa Germanese and William Barnes      102

24. Gardena’s Public Manager Improves City Finances

Lynn Peisner      108

25. Hanover and Other Cities Implement Generic Service Reductions

Joe Casey and Shayne Kavanagh      112

26. Harrisburg and Other Cities Revise Their Property Tax Structure

Walter Rybeck      117

27. Las Vegas and Other Cities Reassess Their Basic Services

Karen Thoreson and James H. Svara      120

28. Lewiston and Other Cities Consider Property Tax Relief for Senior Citizens

Douglas Rooks      127

29. New York Provides Special Services to Low-Income Citizens

Gordon Berlin and James Riccio      131

30. Peoria Uses Performance Measures to Improve Its Budget Process

Peter Christensen and Katie Gregory      136

31. Philadelphia and Other Cities Reconsider Their Contract Services

Russell Nichols      139

32. Portland Uses a New Financial Management Assessment Process

Michael Bailey, Karen Feher and Shayne Kavanagh      142

33. Provo Uses Employees and Citizens to Balance Its Budget

John Borget      146

34. Redlands Uses Citizens to Provide Public Services

John Buntin      149

35. Roanoke Encourages Citizens to Provide Tax Relief

Ann H. Shawver      153

36. Rochester and Other Cities Seek Additional Funding Sources

Kathleen Gray      158

37. Rockland and Other Cities Are Impacted by Senior Citizens

Jeff Clark      160

38. St. Paul and Other Cities Consider Flexible Scheduling to Save Money

Claudia Hoffacker      163

39. San Diego Uses Management and Labor to Solve Budget Problems

Jay M. Goldstone      166

40. San Jose Solicits Feedback on Services from Employees

Brooke A. Myhre      170

41. Sandy Springs and Other Cities Contract for Public Works Services

Robert Barkin      176

42. Savannah Uses a Budgeting for Results Process

Eva Elmer and Christopher Morrill      179

43. Seattle and Other Cities Implement Joint Purchasing Programs

Connie Kuranko      186

44. Springfield and Other Cities Reduce Their Energy Costs

John W. DeWitt      189

45. Walnut Creek and Other Cities Implement New Budget Processes

Shayne Kavanagh, Jon Johnson and Chris Fabian      192

46. Waukesha and Other Cities Reduce Health Costs for Their Aging Employees

Robert Barkin      200

47. West Palm Beach Provides Successful Social Service Programs

Alan Brown      203

48. Westminster Uses Performance Results to Improve Services

Brent McFall      207

49. Worcester Uses an Independent Source to Measure Service Performance

Roberta R. Schaefer      209

Part III. The Future

50. City Revenues, Budgets and the Future

Christopher W. Hoene      215

51. Financial Constraints and New Service Opportunities

William Barnes      219

52. Redefining the Quality of Life in Your Community

Thomas L. Miller and Shannon E. Hayden      221

53. The Condition of America’s Infrastructure

Roger L. Kemp      225

54. Cities, New Technologies and Public Services

Marcel Bullinga      229

55. City Government Options for Public Service Innovations

Christopher Hire      234

56. The Financial Future of America’s Cities

Roger L. Kemp      240


A. Local Government Financial Terms      249

B. Regional Resource Directory      253

C. National Resource Directory      254

D. City Management Officials State Chapter Directory      254

E. Finance Officials State Chapter Directory      255

F. State Municipal League Directory      256

G. State Library Directory      257

About the Editors and Contributors      259

Index      261