Issues Local Governments are Facing in 2022 - and how to manage them
Every year the CityGrows team (now ClearForms!) summarizes the issues that our customers and friends in local government see emerging for the year that's coming. While the repeated emergence of new COVID variants has in some ways made 2021 feel like a series of time loops, there are definitely some new situations keeping our local government partners' attention.
Here's our take on what we'll be facing together in 2022:
Infrastructure spending: Opportunities and Challenges
The once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure (broadly defined) that was approved in 2021 will start to move into state and local governments in 2022. This brings incredible opportunity to complete long-needed upgrades, repairs, and create new projects. Infrastructure spending will touch most aspects of government - transportation, energy, buildings. In particular there is funding to expand new types of clean energy infrastructure (Electric Vehicle charging stations) and broadband. We'd be more hopeful about how this will roll out if the technology and permitting infrastructure was in better shape nationally! Because so many governments are still using legacy systems (or no system at all) it'll be challenging tor them to accommodate more volume in new and existing permit types. (Hint: ClearForms can help with that!)
Pandemic permanence and fatigue
While it's not clear how much of an impact the newest variant will have on the path out of the pandemic, governments are facing challenges in two directions. Some of the changes of the last 2 years (such as shifts in employment, expanded outdoor dining and changes in transportation patterns) may never return to pre-pandemic norms. Conversely, people are tired of ongoing pandemic-related restrictions. Thankfully most people are willing to abide by vaccination verifications and other public health strategies, but many communities have resisted and in some cases banned public health measures. The pandemic and its impacts are unlikely to diminish, at least in the first half of 2022.
2022 brings midterm elections across the country, with state, county and local governments responsible for the execution of free and fair elections. Despite the lack of evidence of any significant election irregularities in 2020, many Americans remain convinced that our election systems should be seen as suspect. It's concerning that many long-serving and excellent local officials of both parties are exiting roles in managing elections. Local governments must ensure that our elections continue to be implemented fairly, and combat the inaccurate perception that our electoral systems are compromised or unfair.
The great (government) resignation/ hiring challenges
Many government employees accepted early retirement offers during the pandemic. In some places, and with new resources coming for infrastructure, governments have more open positions than they can fill. Local governments are struggling to fill open positions in a competitive job market, especially in areas with a high cost of living. Governments may turn to more shared resources and outsourced service providers for key skilled roles such as building inspectors. Improved workflow software like ClearForms can help smaller teams get more done efficiently.
What are the most important issues for your community?