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., ICMA-CM, has been a city manager on both the East and West coasts for more than 25 years. He is presently Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Golden Gate University and a Fellow of The Academy of Political Science.

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 <I?Laura Kushner      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