Credit: Photo: Steve Schneider

Jim Hunt, councilmember in Clarksburg, W.Va., said at the NLC conference that municipal leaders must strive to bring their concerns to the attention of federal officials.

The results of the National League of Cities' (NLC) annual survey of municipal officials, released last month, indicate that traffic congestion, infrastructure, and emergency services rank among the top issues on the minds of the country's city managers.

The State of America's Cities 2006 study was issued at the NLC's Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. The purpose of both the study and the conference is to help city officials identify their paramount issues and help them communicate those concerns to federal officials. The NLC conference culminated in a lobbying day to Congressional leaders.

“We're in Washington to make sure Congress gets the point: In the federal debate, our cities must be heard,” said NLC President Jim Hunt, a councilmember from Clarksburg, W.Va.

Traffic congestion and infrastructure topped the list of conditions that city officials said deteriorated most in their communities during the past five years. In addition, nearly 80% of respondents reported being affected in some way by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and 51% said they were revisiting their cities' disaster planning as a result.

Affordable housing, proposed federal cuts to Community Development Block Grant funding, proposed limitations on local telecommunications franchise fees, and overall fiscal conditions also were cited in the study as challenges for municipal officials. For more information, visit