December 1, 2008

U.S. cities making cuts as revenues fall

U.S. cities are looking at falling revenues as the economy slows and foreclosures continue at a high pace, records show.

San Diego found foreclosures more than doubled in 2008, reaching 5,551. The city expects a budget gap of $43 million for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, USA Today reported Monday.

In Philadelphia, city official expect to close 11 libraries and 67 pools in this fiscal year. The city also expects to layoff 200 workers from a payroll that includes 23,000. Atlanta is reducing 4,600 salaries by 10 percent, while Seattle is contemplating raising parking fees from $1.50 an hour to $2.50 and cutting programs, the newspaper said.

City budgets often lag behind economic dynamics but we're starting to see the effects of what others have been facing, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels told USA Today.

City finance officers surveyed in September said they expected tax revenue to decrease 4.3 percent this year, said Chris Hoene, director of policy and research at the National League of Cities.

Local officials know that if things are tight now, tougher choices are coming, Hoene said to USA Today.