Minnesota cities with regular bills and salaries to pay typically set aside several months' worth of cash in a fund balance, but those fund balances are now taking a hit because of the recession.
Budget uncertainty is leading many Minnesota cities to negotiate one-year contracts with their unionized employees, instead of for longer terms.
Neither the unions nor the cities want to lock in agreements that are not going to be financially workable.
As the days get shorter, many people might take it for granted that city streetlights will burn longer.
But struggling with falling revenues and cuts in state aid, some Minnesota cities are turning off streetlights in selected areas.
If you're trying to balance a budget in a rural Minnesota city, chances are you have run through all the options. Lay off personnel, check. Increase fees, check. Raise property taxes, check and perhaps re-think.
As city officials try to reach agreement on how much money to spend, how much to tax and how much to guess they will receive from the state the fall, a lot of attention focuses on police and public safety.