Even the most flexible, forward-thinking government can run into roadblocks not of its own making. Numerous local government sources said unfunded state and federal mandates often prevent cities, counties and school districts from cutting costs and becoming more efficient.
Don’t believe it? Here’s a simple example, born of tradition: Many states still require local governments to post meetings and other official news in a printed newspaper, when web posting is readily available, free and arguably more accessible to the public.
Northfield’s Council brought up the printed official newspaper problem at its organizational meeting a few weeks ago with the plan to follow up with state legislators, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Property tax class rates, sales tax paid by local government, local government aid (and levy limits), and more. I hope state and federal legislators are listening and will attempt thoughtful reform, rather than continuing to balance state budgets on the backs of cities or simply adding regulations without considering the downstream consequences.