OH, HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED
Five years ago, you were more worried about keeping up with the needs of a growing population (39%) than with fallout from a weak local economy and declining tax base (12%). Some things haven't changed, though: Your biggest challenge was skyrocketing material and supply costs.
A year later, respondents to our annual survey of operations and capital spending expectations began citing rising costs and lower revenues as challenges: 31% received budget cuts, 29% didn't have enough money for maintenance, and 42% were short-staffed. But only 2% were concerned about a bad housing market or tight credit hindering their ability to access the bond market for new projects and major upgrades.
Instead, the most common concerns revolved around implementing new technologies and recruiting young talent while retaining organizational intelligence as long-time employees retire.
We didn't even ask if respondents expected to suspend or postpone construction or maintenance programs until 2009.
Do you expect your operations and maintenance (O&M) budget to increase, decrease, or stay the same this year?
Over the next year, do you expect to postpone or reduce planned maintenance programs?
Do you expect your capital improvement plan (CIP) budget to increase, decrease, or stay the same this year?
Over the next year, do you expect to postpone or suspend construction on capital improvements?
Over the next year, do you expect to postpone or suspend construction of new infrastructure?