NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cities Increasing Municipal Services

January 20, 1999

Cities are offering their residents more services, according to a survey of 393 officials by the National League of Cities.

  • Some 42 percent of cities increased services last year and 40 percent plan to do so this year -- the largest expansion since 1991.
  • Only 4 percent of those surveyed report a decline in the level of municipal services provided, with 54 percent maintaining the status quo.
  • Officials reported the biggest improvements in conditions were in police-community relations, fiscal or economic conditions, vitality of downtown area, levels of employment and recreation services.
  • However, they reported increasing problems with cable television rates, youth violence and crime, infrastructure needs, drug and alcohol abuse and affordable housing.

Thirty percent of respondents cited a growing problem with crime by youths, while 29 percent say drug and alcohol abuse are getting worse.

Although applauding the effects of welfare reform, 59 percent say cities need to provide more higher-paying jobs.

Strong local economies benefited cities in the past year, but about 40 percent report strains on traffic, schools and other services due to overdevelopment.

Source: Richard Wolf, "Cities: Increase in Services Largest Since '91," USA Today, January 20, 1999.


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