County Government

Parks Prove Popular During Pandemic—But Budget Cuts Loom

A June survey by the National Park and Recreation Association found that a majority of Americans consider parks an essential government service, but decreased revenue from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to threaten parks funding in the future.

Local Governments Have Embraced New Technology to Weather the Pandemic, Survey Finds

More than 95% of state and local leaders who responded to the poll said their agencies used software to maintain service levels as employees began working largely from home.

States and Counties Mandate Covid-19 Testing for Farm Workers

A handful of states and counties are requiring Covid-19 testing for farm and food-processing workers after several clusters of positive cases were traced back to agricultural facilities.

Fearing Delays and Chaos, Swing States Weigh Early Counting of Mail-In Ballots

Some states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, prohibit processing absentee ballots until Election Day. Right now, leaders are considering changing that to avoid long delays about the results of the November election.

Revenue Shortfalls, Low Morale and New Technology: A Survey of Government Leaders in the Age of Covid-19

Facing reduced tax revenues and dealing with new challenges, local government officials in a new survey by ELGL, the Atlas and SeeClickFix reflect on staff morale and potential government cutbacks, as well as the technology that is helping them navigate this time.

Florida’s Cautionary Tale: How Gutting and Muzzling Public Health Fueled Covid Fire

Even as Florida's population grew over the last decade, Florida slashed the funding of local health departments, leaving them with less staff to respond to the pandemic. And some were then told not to speak.

What It Takes to Build a Nonpartisan Pipeline for Women Candidates

In a space dominated by Democratic groups, the LBJ Women’s Campaign School highlights its nonpartisan approach in trying to help more women get elected to office. It’s not that simple.

Public Pensions Rally in Chaotic Stock Market, But Bigger Bills Still Coming for Governments

Pension earnings came up short this year. Eventually, that will require bigger contributions to make up the difference.

Twitter Posts Show People Are Profoundly Sad—and Are Visiting Parks to Cheer Up

COMMENTARY | An analysis of Twitter posts to score people's "happiness" shows that the national mood is at its lowest point since the start of the project in 2008. But posts about park visits show they combat this malaise.

New Jersey Could Allow Local Governments to Borrow to Avoid Budget Cuts

Lawmakers this week approved legislation that would allow county and municipal governments to issue "coronavirus relief bonds" they would then pay back over 10 years.

Cities Turn to the Sewers to Track the Prevalence of Covid

Testing wastewater samples can give public health officials a heads up that an outbreak is looming, as people infected with SARS-Cov-2 shed the virus in their feces weeks before they begin showing symptoms.

Seattle Region Local Governments Will Continue Remote Work Until 2021

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Rental mopeds pulled out of NYC after fatal crashes … Tennessee governor disagrees with White House aide on closing bars … Police in New Jersey break up 700-person house party.

A Government-University Partnership to Train Students as Contact Tracers

Students at Dominican University in San Rafael, California, can learn to be contact tracers and get on-the-job training in pandemic response with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

Hygiene Theater Is a Huge Waste of Time

COMMENTARY | People are power scrubbing their way to a false sense of security.

Coronavirus Impact on County Budgets Projected to Total More than $200 Billion

Increased costs related to the Covid-19 response coupled with decreasing revenues have counties bracing for a budget shortfall through at least the next fiscal year, according to a survey by the National Association of Counties.

The Poor Performance of Performance Contracts

States and local governments have embraced “performance contracts,” requiring contractors to meet certain objectives. Too often, however, they don’t actually check on the success in meeting these goals.

With 4 in 5 Texans Living in a 'Red Zone,' Coronavirus Hot Spots Are Moving Targets

Early hot spots have been eclipsed by new regions in crisis. Now that so much of Texas is battling major coronavirus outbreaks, some severely ill patients have to travel long distances to receive the care they need.

Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Fly Free as Health Departments Focus on Coronavirus

Monitoring and controlling mosquitoes is a key local government function. But as strapped health departments focus all of their energies on the coronavirus, they are forced to neglect combatting the disease-carrying insects.

The Coronavirus Has Resurrected Single-Use Plastics—Are They Back to Stay?

COMMENTARY | The trend to re-embrace plastic bags and other single-use disposable goods reverses previously growing policies in cities and states to restrict their use.

Ohio County Sets Up Mask Violation Hotline

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Florida coronavirus cases top one-day high for a single state … Seattle City Council majority pledges to support 50% cut to police department … South Carolina county could report 4,000 missing school Chromebooks to police.