DMI Blog

Karin Dryhurst

Help from the Neighbors

Smaller local governments across the country are taking drastic measures to deal with budget crises, with some turning to nearby cities and counties.

Clayton County, a county in the Atlanta metro area, has closed the county police academy, outsourced its planning services, and instituted a three-month hiring freeze. Clayton, which is home to most of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, already lost its mass transit system, C-TRAN, earlier this year because of operating budget shortfalls making transportation within Clayton to the jobs at airport even more reliant on cars. And unfortunately, despite federal funding already in place for commuter rail in the county, the Georgia Assembly has failed to move forward on the rail plans.

Across the country, two cities in California have disbanded their police departments. San Carlos, a city halfway between San Francisco and San Jose will outsource police services to San Mateo County; and Maywood, a mere eight miles from the center of Los Angeles, will outsource its law enforcement to Los Angeles County and its other municipal operations to neighboring town Bell.

Maywood Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo says cities are following the city’s actions closely:

In light of decreased municipal money from the state and federal government, small and large cities across the country are looking for innovative and cost effective strategies.

With localities relying more and more on their central cities plans like LA’s 30/10 transit plan and the commuter rail plans in Georgia make more and more sense. And the federal government stepping up with a loan—or the Georgia Assembly getting its act together—makes more sense.

Take Maywood. It takes 30 minutes sitting in traffic or an hour on the bus for Maywood residents to get the eight miles to the city center. More efficient transit would make it lot easier.

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 30, 2010 in Cities
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