Secret Weapon for Cities in Battle of Balanced Budgets
By Jeanette Fanning
July 13, 2009
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) highlighted during its annual meeting last month what many cities consider a secret weapon in streamlining costs and making ends meet – US Communities, the government purchasing alliance sponsored by USCM.
In an op/ed penned for the Providence Journal that ran June 15 during the USCM annual meeting, the head of US Communities Steve Hamill acknowledged, “Withering revenue, depleted capital and rising costs and expectations of citizens weigh heavily on the mayors. Layoffs, service reductions and shorter hours for city staff are becoming the norm.”
Hammel said that in times like these, banding together is always a good idea, and the fact that in 2009 local and state governments are expected to spend $1.84 trillion for goods and services makes them a market force to be reckoned with. “Cost effective purchasing is a key way for cities to save money and balance their budgets during times of falling revenue,” Hammel explained. “The prices are lower than what a city could find on its own, because of large aggregate purchasing power.”
Hammel added that with 37,300 government agencies participating, US Communities is the largest purchasing cooperative for local governments in the country, and holds a wide variety of contracts. “The savings to cities are immediately noticeable. Since the alliance has already scouted out the best deals and resources, cities also save manpower by not having to do the searching themselves,” he said.
USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran added, “I know our mayors have seen some tough times in the past and certainly are up to today’s challenges, but I also know that they need all the help they can get. US Communities can be an effective weapon in their fiscal arsenal.”
US Communities charges no annual fees to its member cities, and cities can still choose to use a vendor outside of US Communities. Registration is easy and can be done online at www.uscommunities.org, where lists of suppliers and contracts are available.
For more information on US Communities and how to become a member, contact Kathryn Kretschmer-Weyland at 301-351-4350 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.