This week, the New York Times covered the impending release of the latest survey from the National League of Cities.
There is nothing surprising in the article or in the survey. Rather, it’s clear confirmation that the economic and budgetary challenges we face here in New Rochelle are fairly typical for cities throughout the country: declining or stagnant revenue leading to personnel and service reductions. After four years of recession or anemic growth, a new normal is taking shape in which the capacity of local government to meet public expectations is sharply diminished.
None of this relieves cities like New Rochelle of our responsibility to establish sensible priorities, achieve efficiencies and savings in our operations, and promote sustainable economic growth. I think that New Rochelle has done a good job from both a managerial and planning perspective, but even the best municipal policies are impacted by a national or even global context. Barring an unexpectedly positive economic turnaround, it is likely that New Rochelle and all other cities will face additional hard choices for the foreseeable future.