California is in a deep hole financially – for now and in the near future – and unemployment rates remain high.
You have already tried the easy stuff: Cut travel, laid off part-time staff, eliminated contract consultants, deferred raises, actually cut pay, encouraged retirements, pushed for redevelopment and economic development, increased fees, developed an attrition plan and prioritized and eliminated services.

Now what?

The public is clamoring for no more service cuts, demanding more efficiency and getting rid of the fat and more waste.
The fiscal year 2009-10 budget season is in full swing, revenues are projected to be down again, and the state is eyeing local revenue, sales tax, property tax, vehicle license fees, etc.
Are the unions entrenching or offering solutions?  The right mix of services depends on the community.  How are you engaging the community, city employees and stakeholders in determining which services to retain and how much you can afford for those services?
What is a prudent and reasonable balance of services in a failing economy?  Is it wise to use up the reserves with an uncertain future?

Lets start a discussion and see where it goes. E-mail the editor,

Rick Kirkwood recently retired following 32 years in public administration; 29 years as a City Manager in California, Washington and Utah. You can weigh in on his blogs through the comment board below.