As many local governments are facing difficult financial choices, the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has released a report that examines successful strategies local governments have implemented during previous recessions and identifies ways they can help stimulate the current economy. "Navigating the Fiscal Crisis: Tested Strategies for Local Government Leaders," was commissioned by ICMA and developed by researchers at the Alliance for Innovation (a partnership of ICMA, the Innovation Groups and Arizona State University).
The report recommends that local governments maintain expenditure levels to avoid doing more harm to local economies because any budget cuts could compound problems. To maintain expenditures, governments might consider ways to increase revenues, such as raising fees for services, or drawing down reserves. The report also recommends expanding or accelerating capital projects, particularly those with low operating costs, such as existing infrastructure maintenance.
The Alliance for Innovation has created an online resource that will track 12 communities' strategies and how they fare throughout the recession. The featured communities will include Prince William County, Va.; Polk County, Iowa; East Providence, R.I.; San Antonio; Phoenix and Las Vegas. Visitors can track their progress, participate in discussions and share strategies on the Alliance for Innovation's Navigating the Financial Crisis Wiki. A series of regional meetings are planned throughout the year to cover the economy in more detail.