Next American City is asking about 2010. I found this excerpt from Minneapolis one of the most telling. Cities basically are going to prioritize what the federal government is going to be funding. Once again, the agenda is not going to be set on the local level and deal with immediate needs, but rather will follow the national trend of energy improvements.
Assistant to the Economic Development Director for the City of Minneapolis.
2010 will be the year of energy efficiency. With few major economic development deals to look forward to, cities will launch varied energy efficiency programs to reduce their own expenses, free up discretionary income of their residents, and help their business’s bottom lines.
All major cities this year received an extra allotment of the CDBG through the Recovery Act, called the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant, which can only be spent on fairly specific energy uses. Currently, cities are also competing for an extra, much larger, portion of these funds being distributed competitively. Here is Minneapolis’s plan.
I think this will be the big issue since there aren’t many other big deals to be had - companies aren’t expanding or relocating very much - and there’s less and less money available for cities to spend on other ambitious projects. This is the one thing that’s well-funded and an easy sell. I think this nation-wide push will really transform the way cities do business, both within their own enterprises and in collaboration with other organizations. We’re working more closely now than we ever have with our utilities, unions, non-profits, banks, state government, even our neighbors in St. Paul.
Let's hope this is not the trend.