City of South Gate

Michael McGrath
Local leaders have struggled to overcome the city of South Gate’s difficult recent history and its tough fiscal and economic challenges, but it would be something of an exaggeration to suggest that they have made significant inroads in adopting the strategic and organizational changes needed to achieve an ethos of fiscal sustainability. The general approach to budgeting and fiscal issues is the conventional one of cost cutting, modest tax increases, and hopes for commercial development. The reduction of staff is taking a toll on the city, according to one public manager. The city of South Gate has failed to build up an adequate financial reserve fund, and it continues to balance the budget with a structural deficit on a year-to-year basis. The city, furthermore, is facing a serious problem of underfunded infrastructure. Still, local officials have acted responsibly to address financial challenges as they have arisen. Considering what was going on in the period between 2000 and 2003, the city has made obvious progress. If the shopping district and other economic development projects succeed, South Gate will be in even better shape, though the city will continue to face deficits and cutbacks unless and until the new revenue comes in, which won’t be until late 2013 at the earliest.

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