Washington, DC - Cities continue to face the prolonged effects of the economic downturn according to a new report by the National League of Cities (NLC). The 27th annual City Fiscal Conditions report shows that for the sixth straight year city revenues continue to fall as financial pressures such as infrastructure, health care and pension costs combine with cuts in state and federal aid to weigh heavily on cities' bottom lines.
In a survey of city finance officers, the report shows that as a result of these pressures, cities are making personnel cuts, delaying or canceling infrastructure projects and cutting local services.
The report also projects that 2013 will continue to present challenges to city budgets due to stagnant housing markets, high unemployment, and looming federal budget cuts.
The full report can be accessed here: www.nlc.org/cfc2012
"This report demonstrates the difficult operating environment facing city officials," said Ted Ellis, NLC president and mayor of Bluffton, IN. He continued, "Local leaders are still paying their bills and working to create opportunities for growth in their local communities. But local governments need certainty and support from their federal counterparts."
Despite the news, the report does show some signs of fiscal improvement, with 43% of city finance officers revealing they are less able to meet city needs than last year. This number is an improvement over 2011 where 57% of finance officers said their city was less able to meet financial needs and considerably better than the 87% in 2010 and 88% in 2009 of finance officers who said they were less able to meet city fiscal needs than in the year prior.