What City Services Will You Use Today?

Cities make sure residents receive the services essential to a good quality of life.

Many of these services are so much a part of our daily lives and are so dependable, that we rarely give them a second thought. Whether directly or through partnerships, cities are responsible for make sure residents can rely upon:

  • Clean drinking water
  • Sewer systems and water treatment processes
  • Trash collection and recycling
  • Drivable streets and walkable sidewalks
  • Police, fire, and ambulance services
  • Clean and enjoyable public green spaces
  • Opportunities to strengthen physical and mental well-being
  • Special services for youth and seniors
  • Public libraries that keep pace with changing information needs and technologies
  • Services that are borne out of unique community needs or attributes
  • Stewardship of city tax dollars and the public trust
  • Partnerships with residents to plan the future of the community

Why should you care about city services? Because you and your families, friends, and neighbors who live in your community rely on one or more of those services each and every day. City residents have major responsibility for determining what services should be provided, how they should be delivered, and how they should be paid for.

Cities are constantly facing tough decisions about how best to pay for services. City governments must always balance the services needs of residents with the level of service that residents are willing and able to pay for. Just as with a household or business budget, when income goes down expenses need to go down , too. While initially this leads to resourcefulness and efficiency, there comes a point when hard decisions must be made about which important community values matter more than others. With increasing demands for city services, cities are looking for new ideas to find that balance.

You can be part of the process. City officials want residents and businesses to be actively involved in dialogue around what services are provided and at what levels. As you prepare to provide your input, take a little time to get to know what cities do – not just the city where you live and pay property taxes, but also the cities where you work, drive, shop and enjoy your free time.

Article reprinted from Cities Matter. For more information, visit citiesmatter.org.

 

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