Municipal employees and officials are somewhat beholden to residents and their tax dollars. Therefore, it would be interesting to know the reaction of public officials to an April Fool’s prank regarding snow removal published yesterday in a community newspaper in Evanston, Illinois:
As WBBM Newsradio 780?s Mike Krauser reports, Evanston is dealing with a budget crisis, and a huge bill for the blizzard back on Feb. 2 and 3, which dumped 21.2 inches of snow on the Chicago area.
So, the Roundable reports, their solution is to charge for snow removal.
The Roundtable reports under the new plan developed by the city’s Snow Czar, Pearl Le Blanc, anyone who wants snow removed in front of their homes will be required to buy a “snow removal sticker.”
The plan was approved at a heated City Council meeting on April 1, the Roundtable said.
Residents who participate will rent orange traffic cones from the City of Evanston, and will affix daily snow removal stickers to the cones. The stickers will cost $2.25 per day, the Roundtable reported.
I would imagine that officials at City Hall might not have been too pleased at receiving phone calls from angry residents.
Is it too outlandish in these days of budget shortfalls to suggest that a community could increase revenue by requiring such a sticker?
The Wall Street Journal reports on more municipalities contracting out city services.
Cities say they have little choice. Municipalities across the U.S. will face a projected shortfall of $56 to $86 billion between 2010 and 2012, according to a report from the National League of Cities.
The primary focus of the story is California communities.
For many of the services mentioned in the article, such as tree-trimming, residents likely won’t notice much difference.
On the final day of the fiscal year, Maywood, California laid off all of its staff (96 employees) and is now outsourcing all city duties to contractors. The city, with roughly 30,000 residents and about 8 miles from downtown Los Angeles, is keeping its elected officials and some of the former employees will remain on the job as contractors.
From the story:
Maywood is billing itself as the first American city to outsource all of its city services. In an odd twist, officials say it can provide even better services because the shift will help it save money and close a $450,000 shortfall in its $10 million general fund budget.
This bears watching as many municipalities face budget shortfalls. While the cost savings speak for themselves, it remains to be seen how residents feel.