Municipalities Matter

Municipalities Matter

Municipalities Matter

The State of Our Cities & Towns

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Municipalities Matter

The State of Our Cities & Towns

 

State 2019For the 10th anniversary of the State of Our Cities & Towns survey, CML asked our members to reflect on the years since the very first report. Looking back, what lasting challenges did the Great Recession leave for their municipalities, and what were they able to accomplish in spite of them? Looking forward, what is next? 

Key findings of the report include: 

 

  • Most municipalities have better financial health today than just before the recession. The most common lasting impacts of the Great Recession are delayed maintenance of capital improvement projects and lagging economic growth; one-quarter of municipalities experienced no lasting impacts from the recession. 
  • Feelings about the local economy and municipal revenue have improved steadily since 2011. On average, municipalities thought their local economy was better than the benchmark of the previous year. 
  • The greatest challenges municipalities face are unfunded street maintenance and improvement needs, lack of affordable housing, tight labor markets, unfunded water/wastewater improvement needs, increased health insurance costs, and increased demand for municipal services. 
  • Major challenges have varied over the years. From 2008 to 2011, common major challenges were slow growth in tax revenues, adverse local economic conditions, declining state funding, and decreases in tax revenues. From 2012 to 2015, common major challenges included unfunded street maintenance and improvement needs, federal and state mandated expenditures, and decline in federal funding. From 2016 to 2018, common major challenges included lack of affordable housing, tight labor market, and increased demand for municipal services. On average, unfunded street maintenance and improvement needs was the most common major challenge across years. 
  • Most municipalities have a positive financial outlook for the next five years. Only one in 10 municipalities has a negative outlook for the next five years; these municipalities are all small or mid-sized. 
  • Budget constraints and housing affordability are the two most common challenges municipalities expect to face in the next five years. 

 

It is constantly inspiring to me to see first hand the on-going progress municipal leaders accomplish across Colorado in communities both urban and rural; smallest to largest; Front Range, Western Slope, and Eastern Plains. Municipal governments are major cogs in the economic engine of our state. The daily quality of life we enjoy is because of a vision and a commitment to sound municipal governance.  

Our 10th anniversary report stands the test of time in providing factual evidence that Colorado remains in good hands because of the thousands of problem solvers working in municipal government. It is a great way to celebrate the start of a new year, and as I reflect on my 40-year career here at CML, I take pride in saying that the League has played a strong role in that regard. 

Empowered cities and towns, united for a strong Colorado is our vision, and this latest State of Our Cities & Towns report proves the point quite clearly. 

I would love to know what you think.