Leading writers contribute to City Mayors' financial pages

Site Search
About us

Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |

Local government & municipal finance
City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government

Salaries of French mayors
November 2019: No other European country has as many elected local government officials as France. In the 2014 local elections voters across France elected some 580,000 local representatives, including the mayors of Paris, Lyon and Marseille but also mayors and councillors in thousands of small towns and villages. In France, the remuneration of mayors depends on the size of their communities. Mayors of villages with less than 500 people receive a monthly payment of €646, while those of cities between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants are paid €4,181 per month. The largest salaries are awarded to the mayors of Paris (€8,650 / month), Marseille (€8,137 / month) and Lyon (€8,227 / month). MORE

Salaries of British mayors
November 2019:
In the UK local politics has long been seen as community service rather than a professional career and this is reflected in the salaries paid to elected mayors. By contrast, senior officials in city administrations are often paid more than double the mayor’s salary. For instance, the Metro Mayor of the Tees Valley receives a modest £37,000 per year, yet the authority’s chief executive takes home a more impressive £139,000, collecting over £100,000 more. While mayoral and councillors’ remuneration is recommended by independent external advisers, councils are free to set their own political pay rates, though most reduce or freeze against the recommended level, mindful of local voters’ reactions. MORE

Salaries of German mayors
December 2017: The salaries awarded to the mayors of Germany’s largest cities are relatively modest compared to the remuneration packages enjoyed by senior management in industry and business. The Mayor of Berlin, who also functions as a state prime minister, has a basic annual salary of some €168,000 (US$198,000), while the mayors of Cologne and Munich earn €143,000 and €147,000 respectively. Mayors of smaller large cities (Grossstädte) such as Ingolstadt, Saarbrücken or Osnabrück receive little more than €100,000 per year. MORE

The North Carolina model is more relevant
than ever to US local government finance

5 March 2013: North Carolina’s municipal finance and oversight system demonstrates how to limit the number of fiscal crises. As a result of its local government default history in the issuance of municipal bonds during the Great Depression, the State of North Carolina developed a system that continues to influence others in following the path it took in the early 20th Century. Today when a number of US states are forced to take over the financial management of municipalities and school boards, North Carolina’s system of state supervision of local government finances has become more relevant than ever. More

Troubled US local government divided
over benefits of fiscal control boards

5 December 2012: In 2009, Moody’s Investors Service put all local governments in the United States on negative credit outlook. It was the first time such a blanket report was ever issued for cities, towns, counties, and school districts. To date, the negative outlook remains. It’s an understatement to say that local governments have been caught up in unfavorable financial and market trends since the economic downturn began in 2008. Local governments have cut services and laid off workers, including police officers and school teachers. More

The US communities most in
danger of going bankrupt

5 December 2012: In October 2012, the debt of 30 US cities, towns, villages, counties and school districts were rated as ‘speculative grade’. A year earlier only 25 communities were given speculative grades. More

US cities adopt highly creative
measures to increase revenue

22 June 2012: Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s highly-publicized proposal to ban the sale of large servings of sugary soft drinks in New York City is an attempt to reign in public health costs associated with obesity. The need to cut expenditures in public budgets has become acute in recent years and American cities have controlled costs by privatizing roads, parking meters, and water systems; outsourcing landscaping and other services that require special equipment; selling parks; demolishing buildings; laying off employees; and instituting many other measures to reduce expenses. More

Municipal bonds have been issued
by US local government since 1812

18 March 2012: Infrastructure in the US is generally financed through sub-national capital financing vehicles, termed municipal bonds, which encompass the issuance of bonds by state and local governments, their agencies and quasi-public bodies generically termed special districts. While the term comprises issuers other than municipalities, the first bond of this trail-blazing genre was issued in 1812 by New York City. More

Even Community Land Trusts affected
by American cities’ financial problems

26 February 2011: Mayors in at least 100 municipalities in the United States, from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Los Angeles, California, are openly contemplating bankruptcy. The cities’ financial problems result fundamentally from widespread home mortgage foreclosures that have reduced property values and consequently the amount of property taxes local governments can collect. More

Edinburgh aims to become
‘Davos of Green Finance

13 October 2010: Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond told an audience of investors and industrialists in late September that a new conference to be held annually in Edinburgh on low carbon investment will make the city known as the 'Davos of Green Finance'. More

New York City prepares for
revival of financial markets

20 February 2009: New York City wants to be in pole position when global financial markets start to revive. Proposing eleven initiatives to retain and promote financial companies and institutions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the financial services meltdown was a global problem, not one that any city or even nation can solve on its own. "And although we can’t predict exactly what its revival will look like, we’re confident the sector will come back. When it does, cities around the world will compete to capture the jobs it brings.” More

Flexibility and transparency make
London world’s best financial city

14 June 2007: London has been named as the world’s top financial centre in a survey by Mastercard. The authors praise the British capital’s stable legal and economic framework and transparent business regulations. New York City was placed second ahead of Tokyo and Chicago. More

US subprime mortgage crisis hurts
individuals and whole communities

14 April 2007: Homeownership has long been the basis of community revitalization efforts in American cities. Homeowners bring well-documented stability and investment to neighborhoods. The recent rise in mortgage foreclosures, fueled by subprime lending, seriously threatens neighborhood stability and revitalization. More

Budget cuts compel Kawaguchi City to
set up new public management model

28 January 2007: With a population of some 500,000 people, Kawaguchi is a bustling city and one of the major economic and cultural centers of Saitama Prefecture. Although the population is increasing, the budget restrictions have been harsher in recent years due to the decline of the regional economy. As a result, Kawaguchi city has to streamline the administrative process in order to reduce the size of its budget. As a means of achieving public administration reforms, the New Public Management (NPM) model has been introduced since 2002. More

Brazilian cities pioneer
democratic budgeting

To be known as a poor country with problems in areas such as politics and education has been no stumbling-block to Brazil’s pioneering a practice that, little by little, is spreading throughout the world. This is the Participatory Budget (PB). It  is, in general terms, the shared administration between government and citizens where collective decisions are made on how the budget is to be formulated.The first city to employ this practice was Porto Alegre, south Brazil, in 1988, and was initiated by mayor Olívio Dutra, of the Worker’s Party (PT). More

Additional revenue sources are hard to find
as US cities face increased responsibilities

In the United States most local government revenue derives from three areas - local sources, state and federal aid. A breakdown of the components provides a clearer picture of local government revenue sources. It should be kept in mind, however, that revenue sources that have been tapped, and their adequacy in meeting local needs, are two different things. More

US cities under increasing
financial strain, says study

A study by the US Brookings institution found that increased the costs of providing homeland security, education as well as health care and pension provisions for employees are putting US cities under an increasing financial strain. The study also reveals that in order to make up for lost federal aid, cities are relying more on state aid. They also enhance revenues by dipping into reserves as well as increasing user charges and fees. More

Cities are targeting cell phones and
the internet as new revenue sources

Cell phone and Internet sales taxes are becoming new technology income sources for governments looking to shore up their fiscal positions. Newspaper articles across the United States are reporting how state and local governments are seeking new technology-based revenue streams. As this is an era of rising costs, governments are looking to add income from sources previously left untapped - even non-governmental organizations (NGOs). More

Canadian government offers cities
long-term partnership and funding

City mayors from all parts of Canada congratulated the federal finance minister, Ralph Goodale, on producing an excellent budget for cities. Bob Chiarelli, Mayor of Ottawa, said that the Minister’s second federal budget contained some very good news for Canada’s cities. “I think, all in all, it’s a good budget for cities”, he said. Regina Mayor, Pat Fiacco, echoed his comments by saying that communities now had the money to build bridges, fixing roads and upgrading transit systems. Toronto Mayor, David Miller, called the budget very good news. More

US cities say elimination of block grant will
threaten economies in many communities

America’s leading municipal organizations condemned the decision the US government to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). This grant is used by cities across the US to create jobs, increase economic development opportunities and expand home ownership. The elimination of the CDBG will have a devastating economic impact on cities, counties, and local communities of all sizes. More

Canadian government announces
more details of new deal for cities

Official bodies at all levels of government throughout Canada have welcomed the explanation in February 2005 by John Godfrey, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, of many of the details of Prime Minister Paul Martin’s government’s ‘New Deal for Cities and Communities’. In particular he revealed the formula by which the federal government will allocate federal gas (petrol) tax revenues toward maintenance and development of municipal infrastructures. More

Despite economic growth New York’s
spending is still outpacing tax income

When in April 2004 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his US$46.9 billion budget for the financial year (FY) 2005, he told his audience that the City's economy continued to strengthen, revenues from economically sensitive taxes, such as personal income and property taxes, were rising and the City's fiscal prudence was paying dividends.  “But unfortunately, spiralling non-discretionary spending is dampening the City's recovery and creating significant problems for the financial year 2006," he also warned. More

US cities cut civic services and
staff to confront financial crisis

As a result of an increasing squeeze on municipal budgets, many US cities and towns are cutting staff and services and increasing fees, according to survey of 328 cities by the National League of Cities (NLC), the oldest and largest organization representing US cities. More

World Mayor 2023