3 Top Issues Facing Local Governments

Engaging Local Government Leaders posted top three issues from three municipal officials in cities throughout the US. The responses of local government representatives highlight some issues Maryland counties and municipalities still face today, including aging infrastructure, new technologies, and citizen engagement.

Here are excerpts from the responses:

Brian Halverson, Assistant to the Director at San Antonio (TX) Police Department,

  1. Structural Financial Issues: Reduced revenues from property taxes and the growing cost of services and aging infrastructure.
  2. Climate Change Issues:  From extreme weather and water scarcity to displaced people and economic impacts
  3. Technology and Innovation:  [T]echnology. . . can create a regulatory problem for local governments when many vocal parties want new technologies to be bound by ordinance in ways that protect existing industries.

Brian Southey, Management Analyst at the Village of Elk Grove Village, IL

  1. The maintenance and repair of local government infrastructure including roadways, sidewalks, municipal buildings, and specifically water & sewer lines. . .
  2. Roadways should definitely not be ignored. . . As metropolitan regions continue to grow, there is continuous stress on roadways abilities to handle all the traffic put on them. . .
  3. Local governments need to engage a younger generation of residents. . .

Marc Nelson, Special Projects Coordinator at the City of Roanoke, VA

  1. Compensation: . . . [A]s the economy steadily recovers, [government] entities will be forced to reckon with the issue of stagnant wages and how to compensate and retain top talent.
  2. Advancement: For all the talk of retirements and the need for succession planning, the reality is that no one seems to be going anywhere. This reality presents a double-edged sword for younger professionals who benefit from working with seasoned, experienced colleagues, but who also need to be mindful of their own professional development. . .
  3. Permitting/Planning Processes: How many times have you been asked “When can I get my permit?” or “Why is the plan approval taking so long?” A number of local government permitting/planning staffs have reported being back to pre-recession numbers in terms of applications. However, they are managing this increased workload with staffing and funding levels decreased by layoffs and budget reductions. . .

For more information, read the full story from Engaging Local Government Leaders.

What are the top county government issues in 2016? At this year’s MACo Conference, we will be hosting a county elected officials roundtable – and we’re seeking your suggestions for topics.


  • Date/Time: Wednesday, December 7, 2016; Noon – 1:00 pm
  • Description: Join a peer-to-peer exchange of county elected officials from across the State of Maryland to share stories of local successes and challenges. Through a roundtable conversation, uncover new approaches and discover new possibilities for your leadership in addressing topics of universal concern among Maryland’s counties.
  • Suggestions: Send any topic ideas to Robin Clark at MACo.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: