Today, we heard the bad news from our Outlook in the States and Localities panelists. But I doubt the grim fiscal outlook is a surprise to anyone working in city or county government. It also probably wouldn't be much of a surprise that collaboration, cooperation and consolidation were thrown around as solutions or ways for cities to continue delivering services in this era of budget deficits, service cuts and hiring freezes.

A lot of examples of such collaboration, cooperation and consolidation were also thrown around by our participants. In the interest of seeing how our localities are making the best of bad times, I thought I'd share a few of these ideas, especially since they are applicable regardless of which department you're working in.