19 June 2009

How cities can cope with budgetary shortfalls

The city of Wayzata, Minnesota (suburb of Mpls.) faced a $300,000 budget shortage. They cut various aspects of city services, then decided to stop funding the maintenance of 14 city flower beds, and appealed to the people of the town to volunteer to do the maintenance and upkeep:
A resident suggested that the flower plots be put out for adoption rather than left to sprout weeds. So far, residents have come to the rescue of 12 of the 14 plots up for adoption... 10 families and their children [adopted] a large garden on the city beach at Lake Minnetonka.

The families spent $500 on plants, cleared the garden and planted the flowers last weekend.

"We are going to use this as an opportunity to teach our kids about public service,'' Mullin said.

Weeding and watering will be part of the responsibility all summer. Kids will scoop water from the lake when they do their watering chores.

If the adoptions work, the city will farm out more of its gardens next year, said Public Works Director Dave Dudinsky.


  1. what do you do when all the beautification is already done by volunteers, and your city is still running large deficits?

  2. @ Mike - That's when things get ugly...

  3. My city tried volunteerism like that. But they continued to spend money left and right on foolishness, and it made you feel silly to be doing the work when the city wasn't really serious about their budget woes.


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