Who Decides Where Our Monies Go?
With billions of dollars trickling down to the states, the silo effect can be a major obstacle in getting needed services delivered on the local level. Inefficiency, confusing and duplication of efforts can cause unnecessary havoc but more importantly, result in those needing services slipping through the bureaucratic cracks.
In addition to those needs not being met, it can also result in wasted funds in those duplicated services and a lack of accountability for the monies given on the local levels.
There is a tsunami of “red tape” for cities trying to capture those funds where they are needed most.
The Disconnect Between Federal Agencies and Local Agencies
Cities have to follow rules and regulations in order to get the monies from the federal government. This can be very difficult for cities when they need to be flexible and responsive to the immediate needs of their residents. What was desperately needed 2 years ago may be very different today. What one city is struggling with may not be an issue in another city, leaving the “boiler plate” funding inefficient.
Break Down the Government Silos
There are a number of things that can be done to break down these silos but due to the vast size of government, it’s a process and one that needs cooperation from everyone on all levels.
We can encourage better communication within different departments and agencies. This would address the huge cross-over of services offered in states and cities.
When leaders are elected , it should be imperative they review all of their assets within the state and city levels and include open communication with them for every challenge and proposed plans of action. They can work on:
- Creating databases and sharing agreements.
- Work with the federal government to reduce cumbersome rules and regulations attached to their funding.
- Share stats in their city with government agencies to address changing needs within communities.
- Get community involvement.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CARES ACT ENDS
The Cares Act provides billions of dollars in funding to cities and states. It requires that the funding be used in a coordinated way. It has helped to break down some of the barriers between different agencies and levels of government but it is a temporary solution. When the Act expires in 2025 we will need to devise a long-term commitment to breaking down those silos and improve government collaboration state to state.
Cities are experiencing major challenges in homelessness, crime, mental illness and unemployment and none of these are going away but sadly, the CARES ACT is.
While the challenge is monumental, federal, city and state shareholders can do better. We can step aside from business as usual and be open to communicating with the workers on the street who see the needs every day, to the Mayor and up to the department head in D.C. placing their stamp of approval on a very needed program.