County Government

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.

Can Civilian Oversight Change Police Behavior?

COMMENTARY | Cities across the country are looking at creating police oversight bodies. That makes questions about their efficacy and value more important than ever.

Don't Want to Wear a Mask? In Some Places, It Could Cost You.

States and cities are introducing penalties for people who don't comply with mandatory mask policies. But enforcement is tricky, with some public officials and civil rights experts arguing fines are counterproductive.

Know a Teen Who Needs a Summer Job? Covid-19 Response Is Hiring.

Officials in several states are expanding existing seasonal job programs to include new opportunities to help with government-led coronavirus response efforts.

Libraries Begin Partial Reopening as Covid-19 Cases Surge

Most libraries are implementing phased reopening plans, beginning with contactless pickup of materials that undergo a quarantine period for safety.

Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus

Public health agencies at every level of government received budget cut after cut over recent decades. Now, facing a global pandemic, they are getting cut again.

Uncovering the 'Next Normal:' A Survey for Local Government Officials on the Effects of Covid-19

A new survey is asking local government workers and officials about how the pandemic has affected services, technology, team dynamics and more.

Lawmakers Push for Special Prosecutors to Oversee Cases Involving Police Killings

Proponents say assigning special prosecutors to investigate when police officers use deadly force can eliminate a potential conflict of interest among local district attorneys who regularly work with police.