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Challenges For the New Year

A new year is upon us. Municipalities across the commonwealth will be reorganizing and strategically placing team members in leadership positions for the challenges ahead. For some, it is a well-thought-out plan with expectations of improving the critical components of the local government operation. The list may vary slightly, and the order of importance will most certainly have some differences, but essentially they are all the same.

  • Find new sources of revenue.

  • Improve infrastructure.

  • Enact ordinances to better the community.

  • Improve communication.

Arrange them in any order of importance you want, but the basics will remain the same. Do all these chores within a year's time, and you will no doubt be a success in your community.

I've yet to find a municipality that wasn't looking for various revenue streams. Having a well-planned, ongoing grant application process can be the key to that success. I've always said that the road or street a citizen lives on is undoubtedly the most important road in the system. They don't really care if the street across town is improved; they are concerned with the condition of their street, end of story. Unfortunately, you can't please everyone. Developing and improving ordinances to make life better for a majority of your residents is a huge challenge but one of the most difficult tasks you'll be expected to perform. Finally, there is always the need to engage the public and keep them informed, even if sometimes it seems they don't really care. As with roads, the same is true for ordinances – most residents will only voice their opinion on an ordinance when it affects them directly.

All of this may seem pretty straight-forward. However, I would like to focus on the one piece that I think is missing. If you don't have a manager who is capable of regularly implementing these basic needs, you will fall short of your goals. But, again, this is a reflection of the governing body. They are elected officials who promise to make changes, keep things running smoothly, and pass legislation that improves the municipality.

So perhaps it is time to add one more bullet point to your yearly list of goals. Take a hard look at your managerial team. Has their performance kept up with the needs of your community? Are they maintaining a good flow of grant money? Are the roads, water, and sewer systems in good operating condition? Do they make suggestions for ordinances that are proactive rather than reactive? Lastly, are they communicating with the public to keep them informed?

If you hesitate to answer yes to even one of these comments, it may very well be time to reevaluate your team and see how it can be improved. Perhaps even make some changes. This is not an easy task and one that should be undertaken with professional help. You don’t want to merely fill a gap; you want to take a huge step forward. Now that we are starting a new year look at the team and decide if some things can be improved. Keystone Municipal Solutions has professionals with decades of experience who can help you evaluate whether your municipal team is built for the best possible results. As always, "fire this thing up," Let's ring in the new year the right way – by building a team for long-term growth and success.


About the Author

David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 32 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.

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